Offering more than three kilometres of sandy summer fun along the shore of Lake Ontario, Toronto’s eastern beaches are a destination for locals and visitors seeking a pleasant stroll, a quick dip, or even a volleyball match. Beyond the boardwalk, The Beach neighbourhood is brimming with quaint boutiques, restaurants and much more.
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Pippins Tea Company
RELAXED RESTO Situated just west of bucolic Kew Gardens, Amuse is an ideal endpoint after a day spent enjoying the local sights. In the open kitchen at this cozy, casually chic restaurant, chef Pat Riley cooks up a menu of market-fresh fare divided into either “familiar” plates or those from “the road less travelled.”
ENGLISH TRADITION A delightfully diverse potpourri of all things tea is to be found at the charming Pippins Tea Company. This Anglophilic emporium stocks more than 130 bagged and loose-leaf teas—including its own Pippins-branded varieties—plus delicious sweets like shortbread biscuits, toffee and preserves. Lovely classic and modern teapots, cup and saucer sets, and accessories fill up the remaining shelf space.
Arts on Queen
WELCOME BITE Decidedly understated and non-trendy, Wild Earth Café & Bakery focuses instead on what’s important: serving delicious little treats in an exceedingly inclusive setting. The newish neighbourhood nook specializes in organic, vegan, gluten- and nut-free products—all precisely labeled—such as double-chocolate cookies and even a sugarless teething bar for toddlers. Fair-trade coffees and a selection of teas comprise the whistle-whetting options.
ARTISANS IN STORE Denizens of The Beach are an eclectic bunch, and Arts on Queen (2198 Queen St. E., 416-699-6127) caters to their varied tastes. The longstanding gallery-boutique features folk- and fine-art pieces by Canadian artists and craftspeople, as well as a generous selection of unique jewellery, gifts and home decor items like handmade clocks, ceramic vases and more.
R.C. Harris Water Treatment Plant
SUMMER’S SWEET A day of sun and sand isn’t complete without an ice cream cone. Satisfy a cool craving at Ed’s Real Scoop, where owner Ed Francis churns out more than 80 flavours of house-made ice cream, sorbet and gelato. Fill up a waffle cone with two scoops of blueberry pie, or try a cup of green apple gelato—a tangy treat that’s guaranteed to help you beat the heat.
BUILT HERITAGE At the eastern edge of The Beach sits the R.C. Harris Water Treatment Plant, a monolithic public works site operating since 1941. Renowned for its cathedral-like architecture, the structure presents a prime photo opportunity for shutterbugs seeking out of the ordinary views of Toronto. CanLit fans will note that the plant’s construction plays a major part in Michael Ondaatje’s In the Skin of a Lion.