THE BEACHES JAZZ FESTIVAL
For 24 years, Toronto's Beach Neighbourhood has hosted a very popular jazz festival that features a large variety of music including jazz, latin, and rhythm and blues with participation from around 50 international bands. Yesterday, Paul and I decided to take a look with our dog, Maxwell, who we knew would love to see the crowds of people.
Kew Gardens Bandstand
Over the years, there has been controversy over what is the correct name for the neighbourhood. People continue to hold fiercely to the opinion that it is the Beach Neighbourhood or the Beaches Neighbourhood. Recently, the City of Toronto attempted to resolve the issue by posting signs proclaiming 'Beach Neighbourhood'. The festival, however, continues to be known as the Beaches International Jazz Festival.
The Beach Neighbourhood is located on Lake Ontario, extending from Coxwell Avenue on the west and Victoria Park Avenue on the East with Queen Street as the northern boundary. The area between Queen Street and Kingston Road to the north has recently begun to be known as the Upper Beaches. Though rarely distinguished from each other today, the beaches that gave the neighbourhood its name are from west to east Woodbine Beach, Kew Beach, Scarboro Beach and Balmy Beach.
Boardwalk along Woodbine Beach
Dogs' Off-Leash Area, Kew Beach
Lake Ontario from Kew Beach
We began our day at the off-leash area on Kew Beach where Max had a swim and a roll in the sand - things he likes to do more than almost anything else. Then, we walked along the boardwalk to the Latin stage where two couples were dancing to lively music.
Beaches Jazz Festival Latin Stage, July 28, 2012
There were people everywhere enjoying themselves. Just off Woodbine Beach a ladies volleyball tournament was in full swing with several hundred participants and spectators.
Woodbine Beach Ladies Volleyball Tournament
We now made our way to the festival's main venue at the Kew Gardens bandstand on Queen Street where the Beach's retail outlets are located. It is the neighbourhood's main east/west traffic artery. On our way there we passed some interesting new housing development on Woodbine Avenue. This was a very successful attempt to create housing that would blend into the Beach's existing style of architecture.
Recently Built Condos on Woodbine Avenue Now Worth More than $1 million per Unit
In the early19th Century, the neighbourhood, at that time called East Toronto, became well-known for its amusement park located at Scarboro beach, and, of course, for its beautiful beaches. Summer homes and small cottages were built, many of which remain in place today. This history along with the lack of high-rise development has allowed the Beach to retain its unique small-town character, one which is extremely popular with both tourists and residents.
Development of the new condos, which extend for about 200 metres on Woodbine south of Queen, were controversial. Residents, very proud of their neighbourhood and wanting to preserve its distinctive character, had more than 20 years ago formed an association called the Beach Triangle Residents Association. It represents residents who wish to preserve the traditional appearance of their streets and to fight high-rise proposals, while at the same time recognizing the benefits of more intensive development, particularly in areas where it would help to reduce transit deficits. On the other hand, because the Beach is so popular and has maintained excellent property values, developers and financiers can see huge opportunities here.
Queen Street Retailers
There were many people walking along Queen Street as we made our way to Kew Gardens. This is a very attractive park with lovely trees and landscaping, very popular at all times of the year, but especially during the jazz festival. We stayed for a while listening to the music, walking slowly through the park past the bandstand, admiring the beauty of our surroundings. Then, we made our way back to Queen Street and home. It was all in all a thoroughly enjoyable day.
Here are a few more photos from Kew Beach, perhaps our favourite place to go when we are at the Beach.
Kew Gardens Bandstand
People Listening to Music at the Kew Gardens Bandstand
Maxwell Waiting Eagerly for Some of Paul's Ice Cream Cone
Two of the Numerous Kiosks for Arts and Crafts Producers
Looking Towards the Boardwalk and Lake Ontario
Cyclist on the Waterfront Trail as It Passes Through the Beach Neighbourhood
Ducks in the Water at Kew Beach
On the Boardwalk, Kew Beach
Cyclist and her Dog on the Waterfront Trail, Kew Beach
Relaxing on a Perfect Summer Day at Kew Beach