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Toronto Photo Essay: The Beaches

Writing and photography by William Self..

"Oh my god! That's a lake?" This is the usual response heard whenever I have taken a visitor down to The Beaches (aka The Beach) neighbourhood of Toronto that stretches between Woodbine to Victoria Park. Standing at the waterfront in Toronto would make one believe that they are standing at the edge of one of our planet's great oceans, making this area truly a rare gem.

On any given day in the summer, you are bound to find countless photographers strolling the boardwalk that stretches from Ashbridges Bay to the R.C. Harris Water Filtration Plant. Oddly enough though, on any given day in the dead cold of winter you will still find these same folks, camera in hand and all bundled up, braving the coldest part of our city at the lake's edge.

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It is here where each season is noticeably distinct. The spring reveals the warm days soon ahead through the large collections of water from melting snow that covers the grassy park areas of the beach - miniature lakes in their own right. The hot days of summer brings bikinis, volleyball, paddlers, strollers and dogs by the thousands. The gorgeous maple trees that line the boardwalk's promenade turn into a fiery assortment of colour in the Autumn, perfect for a Thanksgiving Day outing. Finally in the frigid days of winter, spectacular collections of icicles accumulate at the shore as the lake's icy waters lap against the massive snowdrifts forming the most incredible miniature ice palaces.

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Toronto's waterfront is truly as unique as Lake Ontario is, giving us a beach that does not become dormant throughout the cold months that Canada is known for, but one that takes on new life with each season that passes.

Also available as a fullscreen slideshow.


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