Neighbourhood: The Beaches

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Location: Queen Street East, between Coxwell Avenue and Victoria Park Avenue. Transit: Queen subway station, then 501 streetcar eastbound.

The Beaches, or “Beach Village” or “Beach” as many locals call it, is a charming, laid-back neighbourhood with a vintage small-town vibe. Just 20 minutes east of downtown Toronto, the area has two main attractions: its sandy beach and its Queen Street strip.

The inviting Lake Ontario beachfront features acres of soft sand, shady parks, bike and rollerblade paths and a 3 km boardwalk. All are beautifully maintained and popular with the locals. Come people-watch while you soak up the sun. Or work up a sweat along the paths or at one of the area’s many beach volleyball courts. Cool off in Lake Ontario or at the free-entry Donald D. Summerville Olympic Pool, before taking a few minutes to stroll along Queen Street East.

If ever a street was made for idly sauntering, it’s Queen Street East in the Beaches. Reflecting the easy-going atmosphere of the neighbourhood, this bustling thoroughfare is lined with quaint and quirky stores and a cool collection of bars and restaurants. Nestled between Queen Street and the boardwalk is Kew Gardens, a large public park which is home to the neighbourhood’s many festivals, craft shows, concerts and exhibitions, including the annual Beaches International Jazz Festival, which attracts tens of thousands of visitors every July.

At the eastern end of the neighbourhood, you’ll find the R.C. Harris Filtration Plant – one of the best examples of industrial Art Deco architecture in Toronto.

Popular Restaurants and Bars in the Beaches: Breakwall BBQ & Smokehouse, The Stone Lion and Murphy’s Law

Popular Coffee Shops in the Beaches: The Remarkable Bean, Juice & Java Café and Bud’s Coffee Bar

Popular Nightspots in the Beaches: Fox Theatre, Escape Station and Salty Dog Bar & Grill

Popular Shops in the Beaches: Set Me Free, LaManna Fashion for Men and The Dog Market

Hotels Near the Beaches: The Broadview Hotel, Days Inn by Wyndham Toronto East Beaches and Toronto Don Valley Hotel