Published: Wednesday, August 2, 2017
The Beaches, 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 Lake Ontario beachfront features acres of sand, parks, bike and rollerblade paths, and a 3 km boardwalk. All are beautifully maintained and popular with the locals. Come people-watch, work up a sweat 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.
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.
Ride the ‘Red Rocket’ streetcar along Queen Street from the Beaches in the east to the west end of Toronto through the heart of downtown and passing through the eclectic neighourhoods of Leslieville, Riverside, Queen West, West Queen West, Parkdale, and Roncesvalles along the way.