Located just north of the sought-after Beaches neighbourhood, Toronto’s Upper Beach has itself become a very desirable location in the city.
Bordered by Coxwell Avenue to the west and Victoria Park to the east, the Upper Beach has a lot going for it. The community is dotted with charming shops and boutiques, top rated schools and an abundance of greenspace and nature trails. These attributes have attracted developers like Streetcar to the area. The developer recently launched the second phase of its popular The Southwood project on Kingston Road and Southwood Drive.
“I’ve lived in the Beaches for years and love the neighbourhood’s existing charm, green spaces and sense of community,” said Alie Warren, Vice President of Corporate Development at Streetcar Developments. “We’re excited to be a part of the continued evolution of the Upper Beach by introducing The Southwood Ravine Collection, a mid-rise oasis that offers urbanites the space they need, all in a tranquil setting.”
Overlooking the beautiful Glen Steward Ravine, phase two of The Southwood offers residents an idyllic setting surrounded by schools, parks, cafes and restaurants. Suites in the Ravine Collection range in size from 500 square feet to 1,720 square feet and offer one- to three-bedroom layouts, as well as two-level garden and penthouse units.
To help celebrate the launch of the Ravine Collection, Streetcar hosted a special media tour of the Upper Beach to see first hand, what makes the area one of Toronto’s best kept secrets. BuzzBuzzHome News was there to participate in the fun.
The first stop on the tour was the Yellow House Gallery, a brand new art gallery at 921 Kingston Road. Owned and operated by OCAD U grad Christina Kostoff, Yellow House showcases the work of local and regional artists and aims to create a conversation between local work, and global art practices of the day. The gallery also offers custom framing services for customers.
Just steps from the Yellow House, the Art of Cheese was our next stop where we met co-owner and ‘grand fromage’ Bill Miller. Located at 925 Kingston Road, the Art of Cheese has become a staple of the community since opening in 2007. The shop offers a wide selection of artisanal Canadian, European and specialty cheeses.
After treating ourselves to Italian San de Oro paired with a 2011 Black Label Shiraz, the group continued east on Kingston Road to Collected Joy, a boutique gift and jewellery shop owned by Sharon Smyl. The former marketing director-turned-entrepreneur opened the store a year ago with the mission to collect simple joys to surround herself and her customers. Located at 1035 Kingston Road, the shop is filled with locally made quality gifts, jewellery, cards, stationery, pottery, glassware and everything in between.
Heading back westward, the tour’s next stop was at The Beech Tree restaurant at 924 Kingston Road. Owner Robert Maxwell gave us a sampling of his delicious menu which included everything from Flirty French 75 cocktails to house-made gnocchi garnished with marinated zucchini, feta, and a fennel bread crumble.
The group then made their way towards Queen Street, passing through the 11-hectare Glen Stewart ravine. Fed by clean ground water from Ames Creek, the ravine forest is dominated by red oak and red maple. The site is designated as an Environmentally Significant Area through the City’s Official Plan and has undergone several infrastructure improvements. These include the reconstruction of two pedestrian bridges, the Balsam staircase and the replacement of 16 retaining walls using a new environmentally sustainable product called Envirolok.
Once we made our way through the lush ravine, the tour continued to The Chopping Block at 2256 Queen Street East. The store is known for its quality, locally raised meats and is considered the upper beach destination for beef, lamb, and pork from Ontario farmers. They also sell homemade salsas, sausages and marinades carefully crafted by store owner Jay McNish.
We ended the tour with a tasty scoop of house-made ice cream at Ed’s Real Scoop. Situated at 2224 Queen Street East the popular ice cream shop was the first one opened by Ed Francis who now operates two other locations in Leslieville and in Roncesvalles. Often considered the best ice cream in Toronto, Ed’s offers over 125 flavours of ice cream including seasonal favourites like pumpkin and Guinness Stout.
To be a part of this vibrant community, make sure to register online and check out the contemporary suites still available at The Southwood.
Check out more of our photos from the tour below!