Explore east-end Toronto’s waterfront community—it’s beautiful any time of year!

Whether you call it the Beaches or the Beach, this neighbourhood in Toronto’s east end feels like a secluded escape from the busier parts of the city.

The idyllic setting sells itself: a quaint main drag of shops and restaurants with a small-town feel (Queen Street East between Coxwell and Victoria Park Avenues), steps from a wooden boardwalk and bike path that run parallel to Lake Ontario—and actual sandy beaches. 

This stretch of lakefront also provides the perfect series of venues for outdoor events. If you’re heading to any throughout the year, consider taking the TTC 501 streetcar along Queen Street East (or riding your bike along the waterfront trail), as parking is always at a premium, and traffic during peak times can slow to a crawl.

Spring festivals & outdoor fun

If you love supporting local makers, Signatures Beaches and Crafts Show (June 10 – 11, 2023), held at Kew Gardens (2075 Queen St. E.), is for you.

Its marketplace of handmade goods includes vendors of clothing, jewelry, art, children’s toys, eco-friendly items, artisanal food products and more. 

Summer arts & culture

Prepare to be entertained for four days by an eclectic collection of performers at Toronto International BuskerFest (September 1 to 4, 2023). From comedy to music, acrobatic feats to sleight of hand, it can all be enjoyed at multiple stages at Woodbine Park (1695 Queen St. E.)—complete with your fave street foods. 

Spread throughout the neighbourhood, the Beaches International Jazz Festival is celebrating its 35th birthday this year. Visitors come from all over to boogie to various solo artists and bands on different outdoor stages; past performers include Jane Bunnett, Matt Dusk and Molly Johnson.

Fall festivals & leaf viewing

Get a glimpse into the life of the artists who call this neighbourhood home—while admiring the fall leaves on the tree-lined streets—on the Beach Studio Tour, the longest-running of its kind in the city. 

Finally, don’t forget that great Canadian pastime of autumn leaf viewing. A great vantage point to take in the fall colours is from within the Glen Stewart Ravine with its elevated boardwalk. Under the vibrant tree canopy, you may even forget you’re still in the city! 

Also read: Where to See Fall Colours in Toronto

Winter art & ice skating

Book some ice time at the outdoor rink at Kew Gardens (2075 Queen St. E.)—weather permitting. You can lace up and do your laps—or double axles—on this sizable outdoor rink.  

You may lean towards hygge on a frosty winter’s day, but it’s worth bundling up to admire the various Winter Stations along Woodbine Beach. These temporary art installations contrast the stark seasonal surroundings and are the result of an annual international design competition.

Getting to the Beaches

  • From Queen subway station, take the 501 Queen streetcar eastbound to Coxwell Avenue or beyond, up to Victoria Park Avenue