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    • 20,416
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    • 3.57 Km2
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    • $70K
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    • 13.8%
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    About

    The Beaches (also known as "The Beach") is a neighbourhood in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It is so named because of its four beaches situated on Lake Ontario. It is located east of downtown within the "Old" City of Toronto. The approximate boundaries of the neighbourhood are from Victoria Park Avenue on the east to Kingston Road on the north, to Coxwell Avenue on the west, south to Lake Ontario. The Beaches is part of the east-central district of Toronto....

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    The commercial district of Queen Street East lies at the heart of The Beaches community. It is characterized by a large number of independent speciality stores. The stores along Queen are known to change tenants quite often causing the streetscape to change from year to year, sometimes drastically. The side streets are mostly lined with semi-detached and large-scale Victorian, Edwardian and new-style houses. There are also low-rise apartment buildings and a few row-houses. Controversy has risen in recent years over new development in the neighbourhood that is changing the traditional aesthetic, with denser housing causing some residents to protect the traditional cottage-like appearance of the homes with heritage designations for some streets. There is an extensive park system along the Waterfront (with Kew Gardens being the only one that extends up to Queen Street) as well as a parks that follow a ravine (partially buried) that bisects the neighbourhood from North to South at Glen Manor Road. Kingston Road is a four-lane road along the northern section of the neighbourhood. Woodbine Avenue is a five-lane road originating from Lake Shore Boulevard at the Lake Ontario shoreline, running north. It is primarily residential.

    History

    The Beaches (also known as "The Beach") is a neighbourhood in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It is so named because of its four beaches situated on Lake Ontario. It is located east of downtown within the "Old" City of Toronto. The approximate boundaries of the neighbourhood are from Victoria Park Avenue on the east to Kingston Road on the north, to Coxwell Avenue on the west, south to Lake Ontario. The Beaches is part of the east-central district of Toronto....

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    Character

    The commercial district of Queen Street East lies at the heart of The Beaches community. It is characterized by a large number of independent speciality stores. The stores along Queen are known to change tenants quite often causing the streetscape to change from year to year, sometimes drastically. The side streets are mostly lined with semi-detached and large-scale Victorian, Edwardian and new-style houses. There are also low-rise apartment buildings and a few row-houses. Controversy has risen in recent years over new development in the neighbourhood that is changing the traditional aesthetic, with denser housing causing some residents to protect the traditional cottage-like appearance of the homes with heritage designations for some streets. There is an extensive park system along the Waterfront (with Kew Gardens being the only one that extends up to Queen Street) as well as a parks that follow a ravine (partially buried) that bisects the neighbourhood from North to South at Glen Manor Road. Kingston Road is a four-lane road along the northern section of the neighbourhood. Woodbine Avenue is a five-lane road originating from Lake Shore Boulevard at the Lake Ontario shoreline, running north. It is primarily residential.

    The beach itself is a single uninterrupted stretch of sandy shoreline bounded by the R. C. Harris Water Treatment Plant (locally known as the water works) to the east and Woodbine Park (a small peninsula in Lake Ontario) to the west. A long boardwalk runs along most of its length with a portion of the Martin Goodman Trail bike path running parallel. 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. Woodbine Beach and Kew-Balmy Beach are Blue Flag certified for cleanliness and are suitable for swimming.

    In the 2006 Canadian census The Beach was covered by census tracts 0020.00, 0021.00, 0022.00, 0023.00, and 0024.00. According to that census, the neighbourhood has 20,416 residents, a 7.8% increase from the 2001 census. Average income is $67,536, well above the average for Toronto. The Beaches is known as being a great place to raise a family with very little crime as well as many parks and schools.

    Ashbridge's Bay

    Ashbridge's Bay is a small body of water that was once part of the marsh that lay east of Toronto Islands and Toronto Harbour. The bay is named for the Ashbridge family that once lived nearby on a farm. Infill to form the Port Lands and building of the water treatment plant shrunk the size of the bay to the area between the Port Lands and Woodbine Beach. The current bay is surrounded by marinas, the treatment plant and a small tree lined section along Lake Shore Boulevard East such that the original natural shoreline has disappeared completely.

    "The Beach" or "The Beaches"

    The name of the community is the subject of a long-standing dispute. Some long-time local residents assert 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 (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.

    In fact, 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 Men's Association".

    In May 2009, the City of Toronto started the installation of "The Beach" signs along Queen Street.

    Despite the naming controversy, most Torontonians recognize either name as referring to this particular neighbourhood, even though there are several other beaches located elsewhere in the city.

    Location

    The neighbourhood is located to the East of Toronto's downtown, from Coxwell east to Victoria Park. The lakefront is divided into four sections; Woodbine Beach to the west, Kew Beach and Scarboro Beach in the centre, and Balmy Beach to the east. It is four beaches which give the neighbourhood its name and defining principal characteristic. Until Lake Shore 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. And Woodbine Avenue was the western boundary of the neighbourhood. While the official City northern boundary ends at Kingston Road, the area to the north has become known as the 'Upper Beaches' according to real estate marketers. The area bounded by Queen Street, Woodbine and Kingston Road is nicknamed the 'Beach Triangle'.

    Origin of The Beach

    Originally a heavily wooded area dotted with private homes and swampland, the current shoreline and the Kew Gardens private park grounds were appropriated by the Toronto Harbour Commission in the early 1900s. The current beach was artificially enlarged and made continuous in 1930 with the use of wooden groynes. The public boardwalk and facilities were officially opened to the public in 1932.

    The beach is diminishing as the sand is continuously pushed by lake currents from east to west. Historically, the sand was, and to a lesser degree still is, replaced by new sand generated by the erosion of the Scarborough Bluffs to the east. This source of sand has been diminished by municipal efforts to reduce erosion of the bluffs, and groynes constructed of rocks have been used to stabilise the shoreline.

    Local community media

    The Beaches community is served by several locally distributed newspapers including the Beach Metro Community News and the Beach-Riverdale Mirror (run by the Metroland subsidiary of the Toronto Star) and the "Beaches Living" magazine. A free publication called "Your Ward News" has also been distributed throughout the area in 2015 which has aroused controversy over anti-Semitic content.

    Public transportation

    Streetcars heading to and from downtown Toronto run east-west along Queen Street East (route 501) as well as along Kingston Road (routes 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).

    Politics

    The area is in the political riding of Beaches—East York, and is represented in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario by Arthur Potts of the Liberal Party of Ontario. Federally, the riding elected the NDP MP Matthew Kellway in 2011 ending 18 years of Liberal representation by Maria Minna at the federal level. In 2015 Canadian federal election Kellway was defeated by Liberal Nathaniel Erskine-Smith.

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