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Encyclopedia > 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, Scarboro Beach, Kew Beach and Woodbine Beach. It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into Middle Class. ... Motto: Ut Incepit Fidelis Sic Permanet (Latin: Loyal she began, loyal she remains) Official languages English (French has some legal status but is not fully co-official) Flower White Trillium Tree Eastern White Pine Bird Common Loon Capital Toronto Largest city Toronto Lieutenant-Governor James K. Bartleman Premier Dalton McGuinty... Photograph of the boardwalk in Atlantic City, NJ, USA, taken August 2003. ... Southern facade of R.C. Harris Filtration Plant. ...

A gazebo in Kew Gardens, a park in The Beaches
A gazebo in Kew Gardens, a park in The Beaches

Contents

Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (1494x1379, 740 KB) Summary An updated and higher resolution image of the Gazebo in the Beaches. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (1494x1379, 740 KB) Summary An updated and higher resolution image of the Gazebo in the Beaches. ...

"The Beach" or "The Beaches"

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.[1] In the British Isles since Anglo-Saxon times, a riding is traditionally a sub-division (especially in three) of a county, in Australia analogous. ... Beaches—East York is a political riding in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. ...


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".[2] 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.[3] The Beaches Business Improvement Area board subsequently held a poll (online, in person and by ballot) 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.[4] Alternate use: see Robert Fulford (croquet player) for the English croquet player. ...


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).[5] 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".[6]


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.


Location

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. Woodbine Avenue is a north south route in Toronto and Markham. ... Victoria Park Avenue is a major north-south route in east end Toronto. ... Kingston Road (originally The Kingston Road) was built by American engineer Asa Danforth as a route to connect Toronto (then called York) with Kingston, Ontario. ... Lake Ontario (French: lac Ontario), bounded on the north by Ontario and on the south by Ontarios Niagara Peninsula and by New York State, is one of the five Great Lakes of North America. ...


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. Motto: Location City Information Established: 1 January 1850 (township), 1 January 1967 (borough), June 1983 (city), 1 January 1998 (amalgamated) Area: 187. ...


Origin of the beach sand

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.


Local News Media

The Beaches community is served by several locally distributed newspapers including Beach Metro Community News and the Beach-Riverdale Mirror.


Public Transportation

Streetcars heading to and from downtown Toronto run east-west along Queen Street East (route 501) as well as along Kingston Road (route 502 and 503) and Gerrard Street East (route 506), and a bus line runs north-south along Woodbine Avenue to Woodbine subway station (route 92). Another north-south bus line snakes its way along several side streets before making its way to the Main Street subway station (route 64). A third bus line runs north-south down Coxwell Avenue from Coxwell subway station and then turns east travelling the entire length of Kingston Road as far as Victoria Park Avenue (only from 7PM-5AM on weekday evenings, and 24hrs on weekends) (route 22A). A CLRV streetcar, used on most of the TTCs streetcar routes, is seen here in downtown Toronto. ... Gerrard Street East is an area of Toronto, Ontario, Canada that is also commonly referred to as Little India or India Bazzar, located along the eastern portion of Gerrard, it is centred between Greenwood to Coxwell Avenues. ... Woodbine is a station on the Bloor-Danforth Line of the Toronto subway. ... Main Street is a station on the Bloor-Danforth Line of the Toronto subway. ... Coxwell is a station on the Bloor-Danforth Line of the Toronto subway. ...


Politics

The area is in the political riding of Beaches—East York, and is currently represented in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario by Michael Prue of the provincial New Democratic Party. Historically, the riding has sent only NDP representatives to Queen's Park since 1962 (the year after the NDP was founded) and is considered one of the safest NDP seats in the province. Federally, the riding has voted for the Liberal party for the last few years and is currently represented by MP Maria Minna. Beaches—East York is a political riding in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. ... The Ontario Legislature Building at Queens Park The Legislative Assembly of Ontario, is the legislature of the Canadian province of Ontario. ... Michael Prue standing on the lawn of the Ontario Legislature Michael Prue (born July 14, 1948 in Toronto, Ontario) is a Canadian politician, who represents the riding of Beaches—East York in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. ... The Ontario New Democratic Party (formerly known as the Ontario Cooperative Commonwealth Federation) is a social democratic political party in Ontario, Canada. ... Queens Park is an historic green space in central Toronto, Ontario, Canada. ... The Liberal Party of Canada (French: Parti libéral du Canada), colloquially known as the Grits (originally Clear Grits), is a Canadian federal political party positioned around the centre to centre-left of the political spectrum, combining a generally progressive social policy with moderate economics. ... A Member of Parliament, or MP, is a representative elected by the voters of an electoral district to a parliament; in the Westminster system, specifically to the lower house. ... The Honourable Maria Minna, PC (born March 14, 1948, Pofi, Italy) is a Canadian politician who represents the riding of Beaches—East York for the Liberal Party. ...


The area's city councillor is Sandra Bussin who is currently also a Deputy Mayor of Toronto. A councillor is a member of a council (such as a city council), particularly in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and other parts of the Commonwealth. ... Sandra Bussin has been one of three deputy mayors in the city of Toronto, Ontario since late 2003. ...


Attractions

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 Scarboro 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. Southern facade of R.C. Harris Filtration Plant. ... The Beaches International Jazz Festival is an annual outdoor music, food and fun event in the Beaches neighbourhood. ...


Historic Buildings in the Beaches

Leuty Lifesaving Station on Kew Beach
Leuty Lifesaving Station on Kew Beach

The Beaches contains a number of historic buildings that are either designated under the Ontario Heritage Act, or listed in the City of Toronto's inventory of heritage buildings, including: Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1632x1232, 71 KB) Summary Aardvark114, 2003 Licensing I, the creator of this work, hereby release it into the public domain. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1632x1232, 71 KB) Summary Aardvark114, 2003 Licensing I, the creator of this work, hereby release it into the public domain. ... The Ontario Heritage Act allows municipalities and the provincial government to designate properties in the Province of Ontario, Canada as being of cultural heritage value or interest. Once a property has been designated, a property owner must apply to the local municipality for a permit to undertake alterations to any...

  • 18–36 Wineva Avenue, built in 1929;
  • the Bank of Toronto building, 1958 Queen Street East, now the "Lion on the Beach" bar, built in 1950;
  • the Beach Hebrew Institute, 109 Kenilworth Avenue, built in 1920;
  • Beaches Branch of the Toronto Public Library, a Carnegie library, 2161 Queen Street East, originally built in 1916, revamped in 1980 and 2005;
  • the Dominion Bank building, at Queen and Lee streets, built in 1911;
  • the Dr. William D. Young Memorial, located in Kew Gardens, erected in 1919 and partly designed by Ivor Lewis;
  • the Fox Theatre, built in 1914, which is Toronto's oldest operating movie theater;
  • Glenn Gould's family home, 32 Southwood Drive;
  • the Kew Beach Firehall No. 17, still in use today as a working firehall, built in 1905;
  • the Kew Williams House, 30 Lee Avenue, built in 1901-1902;
  • the Leuty Lifesaving Station, foot of Leuty Avenue, built in 1920;
  • Inglenook, at 81 Waverley Road; and
  • Whitelock's Grocery Store, now Whitlock's Restaurant, built between 1906-1908.

The Bank of Toronto was a Canadian bank that merged with the Dominion Bank of Canada in 1955 to form the Toronto-Dominion Bank. ... Toronto Reference Library The Toronto Public Library is the largest public library system in Canada and the second busiest (by number of visits) in the world after that of Hong Kong. ... A Carnegie library, opened in 1913 in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA, designed in Spanish Colonial style Carnegie libraries for both public use and academic institutions were built with money donated by Scottish-American businessman Andrew Carnegie, earning him the nickname, the Patron Saint of Libraries. ... The Dominion Bank was a Canadian bank based in Toronto and founded in 1871 that merged on February 1, 1955 with the Bank of Toronto to form the Toronto-Dominion Bank. ... Ivor Rhys Lewis (1882-1958) was a Canadian artist and business director. ... Glenn Gould, Toronto, 1974 Glenn Herbert Gould (September 25, 1932 – October 4, 1982) was a celebrated Canadian pianist, noted especially for his recordings of Johann Sebastian Bachs keyboard music. ... A fire station is a building or other area set aside for storage of firefighting apparatus i. ...

Notable people

Academy-award winning director Norman Jewison, former L.A. Lakers and L.A. Kings owner Jack Kent Cooke, and world-renowned concert pianist Glenn Gould all grew up in the neighbourhood and attended Malvern Collegiate Institute, the local non-denominational high school. Singer/songwriters Dan Hill and Alannah Myles both lived in the neighbourhood while maintaining active international recording careers. Canadian comedian John Candy, though never a Beaches resident, attended the local Catholic boys' high school, Neil McNeil High School. A few members of the band Barenaked Ladies live in the Beaches area, as does international bestselling author Peter Robinson, creator of the Inspector Banks series. Jamie Johnston, an actor in Degrassi: The Next Generation also resides in the neighbourhood. Norman Frederick Jewison, CC, BA, LL.D (born July 21, 1926) is a Canadian film director, producer, and actor. ... Jack Kent Cooke (25 October 1912 – 6 April 1997) was a Canadian entrepreneur who became one of the most widely-known executives in North American professional sports. ... Glenn Gould, Toronto, 1974 Glenn Herbert Gould (September 25, 1932 – October 4, 1982) was a celebrated Canadian pianist, noted especially for his recordings of Johann Sebastian Bachs keyboard music. ... Malvern Collegiate Institute is a Toronto high school located in The Beaches neighbourhood. ... Dan Hill (born Toronto, Ontario in 1954 to American émigrés) is a biracial Canadian singer and songwriter. ... Alannah Myles (b. ... John Franklin Candy (October 31, 1950 – March 4, 1994) was a Canadian comedian and actor. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Peter Robinson (born 1950) is an English-born, Canadian-based crime writer. ... This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ... Degrassi: The Next Generation is a Canadian television series, which follows the lives of a group of high school students. ...


Footnotes

  1.  "Is it Beaches or The Beach? Passions run deep in neighbourhood Vote will decide how signs will read" by Curtis Rush, The Toronto Star, April 5, 2006. B4 (online: [7])
  2.  City of Toronto, Beaches Neighbourhood Profile ([8])
  3.  "Once and for all, is it Beach or Beaches?" by Stephen Wickens, The Globe and Mail, February 4, 2006. M1.
  4.  "Once and for all, is it Beach or Beaches?" by Stephen Wickens, The Globe and Mail, February 4, 2006. M5.
  5.  "Are you a Beacher or a Beacheser?" by Mary Campbell. Beach Metro News, April 4th 2006. p4.
  6.  "Carved in Stone: The Beaches", by Steven Spenser. Beach Metro News, April 4th 2006. p5.

References

  • The Beach in Pictures: 1793–1932. Mary Campbell and Barbara Myrvold. 1988. Toronto Public Library Board.
  • The Boardwalk Album. Barbaranne Boyer. 2000. Boston Mills Press.
  • Historical Walking Tour of Kew Beach. Mary Campbell and Barbara Myrvold. 1995. Toronto Public Library Board.

See also


  Results from FactBites:
 
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The Cam is pointing south along the boardwalk, displaying the bike path, beach, pavilion area and the beautiful Pacific Ocean.
One of the most interesting times to view Beach Cam is during the weekend, when up to 150,000 people a day visit this exciting place called Venice Beach.
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