There is a wonderful area of Toronto I just love to visit. It is the part of the Beaches (or The Beach, whatever your preference) on Queen Street East, starting at Woodbine, continuing east as far as Scarborough Bluffs, and on the south – the beach, overlooking beautiful Lake Ontario.
When we visit near the Bluffs, we usually carry some good food for the Canada geese and the ducks there, and catch a bite to eat at the restaurant at the Marina.
The Bluffers Park Marina has offered the boater everything they could want for over 25 years. Boat mechanics on site, two restaurants, a snack bar, a big sandy beach and just 20 minutes from downtown Toronto. Over 400 Slips, docks from 20’ to 80’, accommodating both power and sail boats, with a full service fuel dock, and winter boat storage.
The commercial part of Queen Street East is in the middle of the area I love to visit. The stores, which change every once in awhile, provide unique and interesting shopping and dining – or entertainment. There are plenty of cafés, and fine restaurants and pubs. Leave the car at home, take a streetcar, then just saunter along the streets and boardwalks. Streetcars are a great way to go, adding to the charm of the whole area. They’ve been travelling to The Beaches for a long, long time.
The side-streets have mostly semi-detached two-story duplexes or sometimes four-plexes, and express Victorian or Edwardian style architecture, built in the 19th century, from around 1900 and the 1920s.
This home (pictured below) located in a Beach neighbourhood recently sold for $1,875,000.
Here is short and enjoyable video from 2013 entitled “The Beach Toronto – Toronto’s Sports Paradise” (thanks to Bosleyrealestate) which really captures the flavour of the Beaches. In its 3:54 minute visualization, you will see beach volleyball, baseball, lawn bowling, tennis, skateboarding, rollerblading, biking, the broad sandy beach itself, the gently lapping, sparkling waters of Lake Ontario, swimming, sail and speed boating, kite surfing, the expansive boardwalk for daytime sauntering or moonlit walks, dogs (walking their masters), a multitude of interesting restaurants, stores and night spots, beautiful and unique homes, lovely tree-lined streets, our historic and beautiful Kew Gardens, and many restful parks.
There are so many great places to eat in The Beaches that I couldn’t record them all here, but this link to the website “Urbanspoon” has a list of 157 locations to get you started!
I love the parks. I have spent memorable times on the benches looking out at Lake Ontario, watching proud owners of even prouder dogs walk by on the boardwalk (here since 1932). It’s 3 km long, and there is a lovely park with picnic tables, and shady or sunny spots. My husband and I used to pick up a scrumptious Greek Salad takeout and set up our hibachi in the park, then cook a couple of steaks for a wonderful meal and memory.
Or watch Beach Volleyball.
It’s fun watching the dogs, the kids, the bicyclists or roller-bladers on the path beside the boardwalk, and the benches along the beach are wonderful relaxation points.
I could listen all day to waves brushing the sandy shore, soft shushy ones or big booming crashers, all wonderful. (I have a recording by my bedside I sometimes listen to, of waves breaking on the shore.) Soaking in the sun is another plus (most inexpensive way to get your vitamin D). Or sitting in the shade of the huge old trees can actually lull you to sleep. Even just thinking about a warm sunny day, sitting on a bench, under a big old tree, listening to the waves……zzzzz oops! sorry! I dozed off there for a moment.
Oh yes, and you can use the beach to swim too…..
(Well, hey folks! It’s OUR beach too, you know.)
The 2014 Beaches International Jazz Festival
It’s like a small town in a pocket of the big city with its own individual treats. Every year the Beaches presents its own International Jazz Festival which is being held this year from July 18 to 27th, and admission is free. Music has been a part of the Beaches for a long, long time. Here are people listening to the Band at Scarborough Beach in the early 1900s.
Events at the this year’s Jazz Festival include:
Streetfest runs July 24-26 showcasing the finest in Big Band, Swing, Dixieland, Smooth, Post-Bop, Afro-Cuban, Fusion, Funk, R&B and Soul sounds that Toronto has to offer – upwards of 50 Canadian bands entertain you along a 2 km stretch of Queen Street East (closed to traffic for this occasion) playing 3 sets between 7 to 11 pm nightly. Check the site link below for all musical artists performing & the locations where you’ll find them:
Taste of Jazz occurs July 22-23 in Woodbine Park featuring live music and a fine lineup of food trucks offering a full range of tasty delights, along with a licensed beer/wine garden area. It’s a “Gourmet Food Truck Extravaganza”! Here’s the link to check it out:
The BIJF Tune-Up Run could help you work off the calories you might have added at the Taste of Jazz. This official training run event, organized by Canada Running Series, invites you to a group training run or walk on July 27 at 8 a.m., starting in the Beaches Boardwalk near the Leuty Life Guard Station. You have a choice of 5k, 10, or 20k – all routes head out in the same direction. Check this website for information:
The Jazz Workshops are held at the Mennonite New Life Centre, 1774 Queen Street East, on July 21-23 and July 26-27. Some of the most talented artists in Toronto present these free workshops. Go to this site to choose your workshop and register by email:
Jazz In Motion – Photography/Multi-Arts Projects – displays of images that best define the essence of jazz music, jazz musicians and the audience which supports them. You can also submit artwork or participate in live painting in the park. Here’s the site to get information on the submission of photos or artwork:
See you at the Festival!
but don’t forget to stroll down and spend time on The Beaches too!
As has become her custom these last few posts, my daughter has offered to add her favourite “themed” musical contributions to my blog. I’ve given her free reign, so let’s she what she’s come up with…
Finding my favourite music with a Beaches theme wasn’t difficult for me. In fact, being a lover of all things beach-related I had a great time picking out these tunes. I’ve included a little background info that you might find interesting. I hope you can take time to listen, as hardly anything can lift your spirits as high and get your toes tapping as happily as a bit of music in your life. My selections cover a wide variety of music styles. Hopefully there’s something here for everyone’s tastes.
Blake Shelton – Some Beach
Blake Shelton (b. 6/18/76 Ada, OK) American country singer & TV personality. His 2001 debut single “Austin” was 5 wks. at #1 – Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. His Gold debut album had 2 more Top 20 hits, and his 2nd & 3rd albums (2003/2004) were also certified Gold. He’s charted 24 singles, 11 of them at #1. He’s also judged on TV singing competitions Nashville Star, Clash of the Choirs, & The Voice (where his team won 3 seasons out of 6). He’s married to famous country singer Miranda Lambert. He has 6 studio albums, 3EPs, a compilation, and 18 singles. (wikipedia) He’s had numerous award nominations (including 7 Grammys) which have earned him 25 #1 awards – American Country Awards; American Music Awards; CMT Music Awards;Country Music Association Awards; iHeartRadio Music Awards. (aceshowbiz.com). I have to admit, Blake Shelton wasn’t on my radar till I watched him on The Voice but I’ve grown to appreciate his distinctive sound since then. I especially enjoy his 2008 cover of Michael Bublé’s “Home”.
2004 – Here’s Blake Shelton with his corny/cute country hit called Some Beach from “Blake Shelton’s Barn & Grill” – (h/t Blake Shelton – YouTube)
Vince Guaraldi – Pebble Beach
Vincent “Vince” Guaraldi (b. San Francisco, CA. 7/17/28 – 2/6/76) American jazz musician/pianist noted for innovative compositions & arrangements & for composing music for Peanuts animated TV shows (wikipedia) 1st recorded work was 1953s “Vibratharpe”w/the Cal Tjader Trio. Studio sessions & touring kept him busy during the ’50s (Conte Candoli (2 albums), Frank Rosolino (1), Cal Tjader (10+), 1956 Woody Herman tour & standing ovations at the 1958’s 1st Monterey Jazz Festival w/The Cal Tjader Quintet). National prominence came with 1962’s Gold record/Grammy winning “Cast Your Fate to the Wind”. – Producer Lee Mendelson heard that song & asked Guaraldi to compose music for a “Peanuts” Christmas TV special and Guaraldi enthusiastically took the job. He & his trio performed 17 “Peanuts” TV specials, & 1 feature film “A Boy Named Charlie Brown”. (Derrick Bank & wikipedia). Although he died young, at 47, he’d recorded 17 albums, with many additional notable appearances on other artists albums, and at least 14 posthumous album/cd releases since then. I hope you have the opportunity to listen to “A Charlie Brown Christmas” album- one of my favourites. I love his style of jazz, I hope you do too.
1964 – This is an audio only video of the Vince Guaraldi Trio performing Pebble Beach from “A Boy Named Charlie Brown”. – (h/t TheElectronicPeanut sin kanal – YouTube)
The Beach Boys – The Warmth of the Sun
The Beach Boys – American rock band formed in Hawthorne, CA. 1961. The group’s original lineup were brothers Brian, Dennis and Carl Wilson, cousin Mike Love & friend Al Jardine. They bacame the most popular surf rock band in the U.S. during the early 1960s. Mastermind & chief songwriter, Brian Wilson, took The Beach Boys’ music to ever increasing levels of sophistication and artistry between 1964 and 1966. They then became one of most popular international acts of the decade and arguably the only American group to effectively challenge the success of The Beatles in terms of mainstream appeal and critical recognition. The Beach Boys produced 29 studio albums, 4 Live, 34 compilations and 82 singles. (wikipedia). 2012 marked their 50th anniversary and the surviving band members completed a 73 date world tour to commemorate their years of making great music. On a personal note, I never understood the supposed rivalry between fans of The Beach Boys and fans of The Beatles. Although I’m partial to the Beatles, I enjoy them both. Perhaps my favourite Beach Boys album is “Surf’s Up” – hopefully you’ll get the chance to hear it.
1964 – Let’s reminisce with The Beach Boys in this video showcasing beautiful sunset pictures backed by one of their lovely harmonic songs – The Warmth Of The Sun from “Shut Down Volume 2” – (h/t David Patch – YouTube)
Percy Faith – Ebb Tide
Percy Faith was born and raised in Toronto, Canada (b. 4/7/08 – 2/9/76) Child piano prodigy, giving his first recital at 15 at Massey Hall; played music for silent movies at movie theatres. He injured his hands in a fire at 18 which cut his concert pianist career short. Faith moved into arranging, beginning with local, hotel orchestras but quickly moving to radio where he developed his lush pop-instrumental style. For most of the ’30s, he worked at the Canadian Broadcast Company radio. His show, Music by Faith, was also aired within the U.S. -moved to Chicago in 1940.- had his first #1 hit “Delicado” (1952) -composed film scores during mid 1950s, starting with Oscar-nominated Love Me or Leave Me (w/Geo.Stoll). -his biggest hit of the 1960s was “The Theme From A Summer Place”by Max Steiner (reached #1 & earned him his 1st Grammy). Percy Faith was one of the most popular easy listening recording artists of the ’50s and ’60s. He had many hit albums & singles, and also was responsible for arranging hits by Tony Bennett, Doris Day, Johnny Mathis, and Burl Ives, among others, as the musical director for Columbia Records in the ’50s. (Cub Koda – AllMusic). Percy Faith’s music is where I go to relieve life’s stresses. Sit back, close your eyes, you’re at the Beach. So Relax!
1954 – Although many artists have performed this lovely tune, I’m sure you’ll enjoy Toronto’s own Percy Faith’s version of Ebb Tide – (h/t baroqer2010 – YouTube)
Chris Rea – On The Beach
Chris Rea (b. 3/4/51-) is an English singer-songwriter, recognizable for his distinctive, husky voice and slide guitar playing. The “British Hit Singles & Albums” stated that Rea was “one of the most popular UK singer-songwriters of the late 1980s”. He was already a major European star by the time he finally cracked the UK Top 10 with his 18th chart entry…By 2009, Rea had sold more than 30 million albums worldwide. He is well known for his 1978 hit song “Fool (If You Think It’s Over)” that chartered #12 on the Billobard Hot 100 and spent 3 weeks at #1 on the U.S. Billboard adult contemporary chart…The Guinness Rockopedia described him as a “gravel-voiced guitar stalwart”. He has compiled 23 studio albums, 11 compilations, 1 Live, 1 soundtrack & has had 72 hit singles. One of my all-time favourite Yuletide songs is Chris Rea’s “Driving Home For Christmas”. Whether you celebrate or not, it’s a wonderful song to listen to during the Holidays.
1986 – Here’s a taste of Chris Rea’s unique voice in his video for On The Beach from the Platinum selling album of the same name – (h/t SwinIntoMyOcean – YouTube)
HEARD ON THE BEACHES
A long walk on a long beach shortens every kind of sorrow! (Mehmet Murat ildan)
Writers begin with a grain of sand, and then create a beach. (Robert Black)
Beach girls now, beach girls tomorrow, beach girls till the end of time. (Luanne Rice)
Here, Fridays were dedicated to the two Bs – Beach and Boats. (Laura Miller)
Everyday I’m steppin’ on a beach! (Spongebob)
Don’t grow up too quickly, lest you forget how much you love the beach. (Michelle Held)
On the beach, you can live in bliss. (Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys)
After a visit to the beach, it’s hard to believe that we live in a material world. (Pam Shaw)
Going to the beach and being around five of your friends and having a good time means so much more than going out and spending hundreds of dollars. (Maria Sharpova)
I could never stay long enough on the shore: the tang of the untainted, fresh, and free sea air was like a cool, quieting thought. (Helen Keller)
If there’s a heaven for me, I’m sure it has a beach attached to it. (Jimmy Buffett)
You can tell all you need to about a society from how it treats animals and beaches. (Frank Deford)
My life is like a stroll on the beach… as near to the edge as I can go. (Thoreau)
The beach is in our blood. Everyone in our family returns to the beach instinctively, just like the sea turtles. (Sandy Archibald)
There’s a big umbrella casting shade over an empty chair, palm trees are growing, warm breeze is blowing, I picture myself right there, on Some Beach, Somewhere. (Rory Feek & Paul Overstreet “Some Beach”)
Play in the sand; splash in the water; get dirty; get wet. The beach is the only place my mom doesn’t get mad about me doing that stuff. Of course I love the beach! (Dixie Dykens, age 5)
…and from that famous author, “Unknown”, comes the following:
-Leave me alone, world, I’m on beach time.
-My feeling about the beach is quite simple… I just love the beach!
-Sunrise beach mornings, a great way to start the day. Sunset beach evenings, a great way to start the night.
-Life’s a beach, and I’m just tanning.
-At the beach, time you enjoy wasting is not time wasted.
-Memories made at the beach last a lifetime.
–Come walk with me, take off your shoes, let’s walk the beach with only the moon to light the path and waves to hear you tell me you love me.
-Why does the ocean rock the moon to sleep every night? So the sun will wake and kiss the beach.
A Day at The Beach
Life is serious…. beaches are fun…. have fun now and then
Signing off…. ej