Toronto Loft Conversions

Toronto Loft Conversions

I know classic brick and beam lofts! From warehouses to factories to churches, Laurin will help you find your perfect new loft.

Modern Toronto Lofts

Modern Toronto Lofts

Not just converted lofts, I can help you find the latest cool and modern space. There are tons of new urban spaces across the city.

Unique Toronto Homes

Unique Toronto Homes

More than just lofts, I can also help you find that perfect house. From the latest architectural marvel to a piece of our Victorian past, the best and most creative spaces abound.

Condos in Toronto

Condos in Toronto

I started off selling mainly condos, helping first time buyers get a foothold in the Toronto real estate market. Now working with investors and helping empty nesters find that perfect luxury suite.

Toronto Real Estate

Toronto Real Estate

For all of your Toronto real estate needs, contact Laurin. I am dedicated to helping you find that perfect and unique new home to call your own.


Tag Archives: upper beach

Toronto Real Estate – The Beaches

The Beaches is an upper-middle class neighbourhood and popular tourist destination located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The trendy shops of Queen Street East lie at the heart of The Beaches community, with the boardwalk by the lake and several large parks being just a few steps south.

The neighbourhood is a mixture of single and semi-detached homes, low-rise apartment buildings, and some mansions.

The beach itself is a single uninterrupted stretch of sandy shoreline bounded by the R.C. Harris Filtration Plant (locally known as the water works) to the east and Woodbine park (a small peninsula in Lake Ontario) to the west. Although it is continuous, there are four names which correspond each to approximately one quarter of the length of the beach (from east to west): Balmy Beach, Scarborough Beach, Kew Beach and Woodbine Beach.

The name of the community is the subject of a long-standing dispute. Some long-time local residents believe that The Beach is the proper historical name for the area, whereas others are of the view that “The Beaches” is the more universally recognized neighbourhood name, particularly by non-residents. All government levels refer to the riding, or the ward in the case of the municipal government, as Beaches-East York.

The dispute over the area’s name reached a fever pitch in 1985, when the City of Toronto installed 14 street signs designating the neighbourhood as “The Beaches“. The resulting controversy resulted in the eventual removal of the signs, although the municipal government continues to officially designate the area as “The Beaches“.

In early 2006 the local Beaches Business Improvement Area voted to place “The Beach” on signs slated to appear on new lampposts over the summer, but local outcry caused them to rescind that decision.

The Beaches Business Improvement Area board subsequently held a poll in April 2006 to determine whether the new street signs would be designated “The Beach” or “The Beaches“, and 58% of participants selected “The Beach” as the name to appear on the signs.

Ironically, the two names have been used to refer to the area since the first homes were built in the 19th century. In his book, Accidental City: The Transformation of Toronto, Robert Fulford, himself a former resident, wrote: “the historical argument for ‘The Beaches‘ as a name turns out to be at least as strong as the historical argument for ‘The Beach‘”.

“Pluralists” hold that since the area had four distinct beach areas, using the singular term is illogical. Those preferring the singular term “Beach” hold that the term has historically referred to the area as the four distinct beach areas merged.

Historically, there are or were a number of institutions that used the term “Beach” in the singular, including the original Beach telephone exchange (1903 – 1920s), the Beach Hebrew Institute (1920), the Beach Theatre (1919 to the 1960s), and the Beach Streetcar (1923 – 1948).

The singular form has also been adopted by the local historical society, which is called The Beach and East York Historical Society (from 1974). There are also numerous examples of early local institutions that use the plural form “Beaches“, such as the Beaches Library (1915), the Beaches Presbyterian Church (1926), the Beaches Branch of the Canadian Legion and a local war monument in Kew Beach erected post WWII by the “Beaches Business Mens Association”.

Despite the naming controversy, most Torontonians recognise either name as referring to this particular neighbourhood, despite the fact that there are numerous beaches located elsewhere in the city.

Originally, The Beaches area was considered to be bounded by Woodbine Avenue to the west, Victoria Park Avenue to the east, Kingston Road to the north, and Lake Ontario to the south. The lakefront is divided into three sections; Woodbine Beach to the west, Kew Beach in the centre, and Balmy Beach to the east.

It is these beaches which give the neighbourhood its name and defining principal characteristic. Until Lakeshore Boulevard was extended to Woodbine Avenue in the 1950s, Woodbine Beach was not a bathing beach, but rather a desolate wooded area known as The Cut.

Today, Torontonians generally tend to view the The Beaches neighbourhood as extending to Coxwell, with the area north of Queen Street East and west of Woodbine nicknamed The Beaches Triangle. In addition, the area north of Kingston Road up to the CNR tracks has become known as The Upper Beaches.

Still, whatever the definition of its borders, before amalgamation in 1998 The Beaches neighbourhood was at Toronto’s extreme eastern limit and formed part of the city’s border with the suburb of Scarborough. Even now, residents refer to The Beaches as being in the east end of the city, though since the amalgamation of city services in 1998, it is strictly speaking part of the east-central district of Toronto.

The beach is diminishing as the sand continuously migrates from east to west. Although sand is replaced by new sand generated by the erosion of the Scarborough Bluffs to the east, this source of sand is itself diminished due to municipal efforts to reduce erosion of the bluffs in an effort to preserve homes at the crest of the bluffs.

A notable site in the area is the R.C. Harris Filtration Plant, which has been featured in several television programs, as well as in the films “In the Mouth of Madness” and “Undercover Brother”.

In the 1920s, the neighbourhood was the site of an amusement park, located at the end of today’s Scarborough Beach Boulevard. Kew Gardens is a medium-sized park in the neighbourhood running from Queen Street to Lake Ontario, and includes a bandstand for concerts. Every July, the neighbourhood celebrates The Beaches International Jazz Festival, drawing thousands of tourists to the area.


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