On the east end of Toronto lies the area known as the “Upper Beaches”. As a nice and easily-accessible escape from downtown, it’s a cozy, calm neighbourhood featuring many boutique shops that are owner-operated.
On our Upper Beaches tour (or as we affectionately called, a “safari”) we visited a few of these shops and met the local business owners as well as a new upcoming condo development that will overlook the gorgeous, luscious green Glen Stewart Ravine (as pictured above).
The term “Upper Beaches” is relatively new, starting around 2001 by developers and real estate agents to indicate the area directly north of the Toronto Beaches neighbourhood, bordered west by Coxwell to Victoria Park with south and north boundaries consisting of Kingston Road and the CNE railway tracks north of Dundas (see Google Map here). It’s 10 minute drive from Lakeshore Boulevard and the Don Valley Parkway.
The first stop on our tour was at The Art of Cheese. It was impressive how knowledgeable and passionate the friendly owner is about cheese.
He explains that he has an advantage over large-scale supermarkets that demand mass productions of cheese from producers. That isn’t always realistic for small producers so Art of Cheese is able to offer some unique one-off small batches that would be hard to find anywhere else. In the end, I can attest he can help you select (and sample) some amazing local and international cheese.
It’s also great to see the cooperation these small businesses have, promoting and selling each other’s products. For example, goods from Art of Cheese are also available at other local shops including Feather’s Pub.
Then we visited Yellow House Gallery showcasing local works from Beach neighbourhood artists.
We also talked to the owner of Collected Joy, a marketing manager who left the hustle and bustle to work in the same neighbourhood where she lives. As you browse through her shop, you can easily tell she takes meticulous care in curating what she sells showcasing locally-made artisan goods.
Then there’s The Beech Tree, started by owner Robert Maxwell who candidly told us he doesn’t have a culinary background but a passion for food. Five years later it seems to be working with a rave 4 star review by Amy Pataki (Toronto Star). Keep on serving the great food, cocktails and refreshing infused water!
Other highlights of the Upper Beaches include Fox Theatre, Toronto’s longest-running cinema and the nearby Ed’s Real Scoop Ice Cream, a popular hit that you must try if you haven’t already. Check out their fresh made waffle cones!
Thanks to Streetcar Developments for initiating this tour, showing us the developments in the Upper Beaches neighbourhood and the scenic, well-maintained Glen Stewart ravine right here in our own city.
Suites range from one bedroom to multi-level three bedrooms, with open-concept living spaces. Occupancy of Southwood condos by Streetcar Developments is expected in 2017.
“I’ve lived in the Beaches for years and love the neighbourhood’s existing charm, green spaces and sense of community,” says Alie Warren, vice president of corporate development, Streetcar Developments. “We’re excited to be a part of the continued evolution of the Upper Beach by introducing The Southwood Ravine Collection, a midrise oasis that offers urbanites the space they need, all in a tranquil setting.”
For more info about the Southwood project by Streetcar Developments
Photos by Nick Lee