What is Upper Beaches

Upper Beaches is part of the greater Beaches area in eastern Toronto and is separated from The Beach in the south by four-lane Kingston Road, which curves through the area. The northern boundary is the CN rail tracks between Gerrard Street and Danforth Avenue. Victoria Park and Coxwell avenues define the east and west boundaries here.

When the area was settled in the 19th century it bore the name Norway (after the Norway pines that grew there, it is thought) and today that name lives on in Norway Street, Norway Public School, and both St. John Norway Church and Cemetery at the intersection of Kingston Road and Woodbine Avenue.

The largest neighbourhood in Upper Beaches is probably Beach Hill, a stable residential area in the Upper Beaches’ west end, centring on  the small, village-like creative and commercial area along the rolling-hills part of Gerrard.

Beach Hill commercial strip
The colourful commercial strip in the Beach Hill part of Upper Beaches. (Alexei Malakhov/Streeter)

The Upper Beaches is socio-economically and ethno-culturally diverse. Many recent immigrants as well as multi-generational Canadians live in the area. Housing types include older Victorian-style houses, low-rise apartment buildings, duplexes, townhouses and every other style of abode.

Although the neighbourhood is mostly residential, nearby Danforth Avenue to the north and Queen Street East to the south provide the residents with plenty of shopping and dining choices, in addition what to they may find on the two streets that most define the area: Kingston Road and Gerrard.

Upper Beaches also offer many of its own cultural events, including community gatherings, celebrations, festivals and family activities.

One of the highlights of the year — at least before the pandemic — has been the annual Santa Claus parade sponsored by local merchants and Community Centre 55.

Santa Claus in Upper Beaches
Santa and Mrs. Claus wave to the crowd in the parade on Upper Beaches’ Kingston Road. (Alexei Malakhov/Streeter)

The famous Ted Reeve Community Arena and its grounds, at the corner of Main and Gerrard streets, hosts many sports and family events throughout the year.

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