Toronto Beaches

This is what beaches used to look like in Toronto

Beach culture ain't what it used to be in Toronto.

With the advent of air conditioning, and the rise of cottage country and private swimming pools (not to mention the steady degradation of Lake Ontario), it hasn't been necessary to jump in the harbour to cool off in ages.

But throughout the first half of the 20th century, Toronto's beaches were immensely popular destinations when the city was blanketed in heat.

Anchored at various times by Hanlan's Point, Scarboro Beach, and Sunnyside (all of which also served as amusement parks), Toronto's beaches offered residents both a reprieve from the heat and some much-needed entertainment during a time when the city was, well, let's just say, not as vibrant as it is today.

Of these, Sunnyside was the most popular, until waning attendance and the birth of the Gardiner Expressway spelled its doom (the Bathing Pavilion still stands, though).

Although almost all of Toronto past beaches remain in some capacity (with the notable exception of Leslie Beach which was lost to the construction of the spit), few are major draws for locals and tourists nowadays.

So without further ado, here's what Toronto's beach culture used to look like:


Scarboro Beach bathers

Scarboro Beach bathers

Sunnyside Beach Toronto


swimmers at Hanlan's Point toronto

Hanlan's Point

Scarboro Beach water chute Toronto

Scarboro Beach Water chute

Scarboro beach

Scarboro Beach Park toronto


Kew Beach Toronto

Kew Beach toronto

Kew Beach Toronto 1915

Beachwear at Kew Bathing Station

Hanlan's Point

Hanlan's Point

Sunnyside Beach Toronto


Sunnyside Beach Toronto

The former layout of Sunnyside Beach (the intersection you see is Queen St., King St., and Roncesvalles Ave.)


Centre Island Toronto

Bathing at Centre Island

Centre Island Toronto


Sunnyside Beach Toronto


Sunnyside Beach Toronto

Sunnyside Pool

Sunnyside beach pool toronto

More Sunnyside

sunnyside beach pool toronto

Dudes showed off their cars at the beach back then, too (Sunnyside)


cars at cherry beach toronto

Cherry Beach

swimmers at cherry beach toronto


swimmers at leslie beach toronto

Leslie Beach


sunnyside pool and bathin pavilion toronto

Sunnyside pool from the roof of the Bathing Pavilion


swimmers at toronto harbour

Swimming in Toronto Harbour

1960s (late)

toronto island beach

Toronto Island beach


toronto island beach

Toronto Island Beach


olympic island beach

Olympic Island Beach

olympic island beach


Photos by

Toronto Archives

Latest Videos

Latest Videos

Join the conversation Load comments

Latest in City

10 Indigenous organizations in Toronto you should know about

Here's what you need to know about National Truth and Reconciliation Day

It's going to be absolutely brutal trying to get around Toronto this weekend

Toronto waterfront up in flames as fire breaks out at Amsterdam Brewhouse

Canadians could cash in on class-action lawsuit against popular cold and flu medicine

Ontario's minimum wage is about to go up again and here are all the details

Invasive mutant self-replicating lobster-like creatures have arrived in Ontario

Rare Canadian $500 bill set to sell for more than half a million dollars