The Beach Village - Toronto - LYFSTYL

Toronto’s Beach Village Continues To Maintain Its Small-town Vibe

Nestled into a small alcove in Toronto’s east-end is a community that maintains a different way of life—The Beach Village.

While the big city lies to the west with its buildings in the clouds and sea of suits, the quaint beachside community has managed to preserve its green, health-focused and culturally front-of-mind persona despite the seismic societal shifts that have taken place since the invention of the Internet. And, that’s a good thing.

“The Beach Village BIA and its member businesses have put a premium on growing with the times and getting ahead of the curve when it comes to the areas retail presence in recent years,” said Anna Sebert, Executive Director of the Beach Village BIA. “The area is now well equipped for modern living with a number of healthy eating establishments, yoga studios, green parks and cafes, which we feel really provide a great experience to visitors of all age.”

In addition to the evolving retail presence and wide-reaching greenery, the Beach Village BIA has organized several events throughout the summer of 2019 that will help bolster the area’s sense of community and culture. Free outdoor “Movie Nights in the Park” take place in Kew and Ivan Forrest Gardens at 8:00 p.m. on alternating Wednesdays starting with Black Panther on July 3 at the former. The BIA carefully curated the film lineup this year to spark important conversations and allow visitors to enjoy truly culturally-relevant cinema.

“Obviously the cultural impact of a film like Black Panther speaks for itself, but we also tried to select other titles that would resonate with a lot of people, like Bohemian Rhapsody and Crazy Rich Asians,” said Sebert. “The goal is for our movie nights to have an impact on attendees long after the credits have rolled. We want to be part of the conversation when people think about Toronto culture,” she added.

Other events like “Music Nights in the Park” on Sunday nights in July and August and “Jazz it Up in Kew,” the area’s annual two-day music festival on July 27 and 28 aim to do the same. Handpicked local talent like The Arsenals and Old Man Flanagan’s Ghost are part of the city’s musical heritage and the Beach Village BIA thought bringing the community and its visitors together through music would continue to produce strong positive feelings about the area for all involved.

“When people think of culture, movies and music are always integral to that conversation,” said Sebert of the choice to dedicate time and resources to throwing these specific types of events. “We hope people will have a fantastic time, spend afternoons and evenings in the Beach Village and, in turn, really discover all that the area has to offer.”

The retail presence Sebert alluded to earlier is also on full display as visitors’ jaunt along Queen Street East from Woodbine Ave to Neville Park Blvd.  While much has been written in the press about retail vacancies in the area, the positive goes largely unreported as new businesses continue to emerge such as Grasshopper Bistro, a plant-based restaurant at Queen St. E and Willow Ave. Other millennial-friendly businesses heading to the area this summer include the Blue Cloud Café, The Big Bruce Public House, Toronto Popcorn Company and Beaches Brewing, which is slated to open in late summer or early fall. These new businesses form a strong complement to the area’s longer-standing retailers like Ed’s Real Scoop and Bud’s Coffee.

A stone’s throw from Queen East, visitors to the area can walk a few blocks down to Woodbine Beach, which offers a combination of lakeside volleyball courts and plenty of real estate to post up on near the water for an afternoon of leisure under the sun. Simply put: there’s no other place in the big city that allows Torontonians to feel the nostalgia of beachside summers and family vacations like the east-end’s Beach Village. The best part? When you’re inevitably required to return to reality, it’s just a 10-15 minute Uber ride way.