Tag Archives: neighbourhoods

We may have bought a house (3) – the location

Below is the Google street-view of the house we are hopefully buying (ignore the house numbers as they are only approximate and may not represent our address!) – you can move around the locality and see the immediate surroundings.

The house is about five minutes from the GO station (Danforth) and just a couple more from the subway. There is a small Mall just up the road on Danforth, as well as a variety of shops along Danforth itself. And Loblaws, one of the key supermarkets, is a five minute walk (they also sell petrol).

We can walk down Beach’s leafy streets to Queen St – if we walk the most direct route we come out at the bottom of Beech Ave, on the corner of which is our current ‘local’, Quigley’s, with the Remarkable Bean close by and the shore a further five minutes or so’s walk.

View Larger Map

The Beach – our neighbourhood

We had already established before we arrived that we want to live in or close to the Beach, a popular area in East Toronto.

There’s just something about the neighbourhood; the constant glimpses of the lake as you walk down Queen Street; the shore itself, wide sands curled by rocky breakwaters into a chain of lagoons – a vast expanse of water merges with the horizon to the south, whilst to the west the CN Tower gives graceful focus to the downtown skyline; the beautiful leafy streets lined mostly with heritage homes, from the relatively humble to huge mansions; the lazy bustle of Queen Street, with its streetcars to Downtown, its eclectic selection of shops and eateries; the strong sense of community and identity.

They say that people who come to the Beach to live rarely want to leave.

Toronto Highlights

By the end of our stay, I was beginning to be frustrated by the sense of ‘skimming’ – we never had enough time really to get to see anywhere very fully. But, on the plus side, this means there are so many places we are looking forward to exploring and experiencing more deeply when we return to Toronto to live.

Highlights included:

  • The Beach – already mentioned in earlier posts.  We loved the leafy streets, the ‘buzz’ of Queen St. and the laid-back feel of the Boardwalk and shore. This remains top of our list of desirable neighbourhoods. We didn’t find an outstanding restaurant, but then we didn’t really look as we were happy to eat well and inexpensively both in the Beach and further afield.  Top choices included, Green Eggplant, ViVetha and Bow Thai.
  • Greektown – some interesting shops, including a brilliant workers co-operative supermarket that had us drooling, as well as a host of Greek restaurants.
  • The CN Tower – we have been to other cities with towers, but somehow the CN is special.  It graces the skyline from so many different viewpoints and, as night falls, plays out a variety of light shows on the hour depending on the occasion. I even stepped out onto the glass floor – which for someone with a tendency to vertigo felt quite a big step!

CN Tower CN Tower CN Tower CN Tower - looking down

  • Old Toronto, the district slightly to the east of downtown which includes the Distillery District (high on the list for further exploration), the Flatiron Building (10 years older than New York’s) and the wonderful St Lawrence Market, foodie heaven and much more! Don’t let anyone tell you there is no back bacon in Canada – the Carousel Bakery is famous for its Peameal Bacon Sandwiches,  the best bacon butty variant I have tasted, filled with lean, salty, peameal encrusted pork and egg.  A further plus was the Hot House Cafe opposite the Flatiron Building, where we ate as part of the Summerlicious Food Festival – my Lobster Fettucine, with Cremini mushrooms, snow and spring peas and tarragon was perfectly balanced in flavour, colour and texture. We didn’t see the cakes until after we finished our meal, which means a return visit is essential!

Downtown Toronto - Flatiron Building Toronto - St Lawrence Market Toronto - St Lawrence Market Toronto - St Lawrence Market

  • Toronto Shore – the Martin Goodman Trail runs for 219 miles along the shore of Lake Ontario, with Toronto at its heart. This is very appealing to a cyclist who is less than proficient and terrified of cars, who also quite fancies getting back on roller skates (or probably blades, these days)!  The Boardwalk in the Beach runs along part of this trail, as does the whole downtown harbourfront area, not to mention Ontario Place.

Toronto Shore Toronto Shore Toronto Shore Toronto Shore

  • Just back from the shore, walking west from the harbourfront, is the tranquil oasis that is the Toronto Music Garden. I look forward so much to taking in the free concerts held on Sunday afternoons and sunny evenings through the summer, though I’m sure I will also seek out its peace at other times.

Toronto Music Garden A splash of Toronto colour Toronto Music Garden Toronto Music Garden

  • A brief exploration of the Harbourfront Centre on our last day confirmed that we will be back – full of interesting exhibitions and performance space! And in the winter, we can skate outside looking out across Lake Ontario.

This is already a long post and I seem to have missed out so many things . . . We do have one concern about living in Toronto; there will still be only 24 hours in the day!

Real Estate

Classic Beach!Having already linked up with one Toronto realtor, Renate, at the UK Emigrate shows, we are also lucky to have access to the insights of a second realtor in one of our hosts, Paul, at Accommodating the Soul.


Continue reading Real Estate