Bloordale Beach is Toronto's only beach without a body of water attached
Bloordale Beach is Toronto's newest unofficial beach, except that it's not really a beach.
It's not connected to a lake, or even a pond, or any kind of body of water — unless you count the occasional puddle that forms post-rainstorm, which beach-goers have aptly named the Bloordale Lagoon.
The "beach" is really just a barren, gravelly lot sitting just north of Dufferin Mall.
Fencing keeps the public (or tries to, anyway) from entering the site, which was home to the Brockton Learning Centre before the TDSB greenlit the old high school's demolition last year.
It's sizeable, encompassing more than 118,400 square-feet between Croatia Street and Brock Crescent, and located just a few seconds' walk from Three Speed brewery if you go through a tiny back alley.
Look at all that actual sand! Bloordale Beach is so beachy! pic.twitter.com/vhmoCpdxZt— Shari Kasman (@smkasman) June 30, 2020
But aside from some sandy material on the site, there's not really anything beachy about Bloordale Beach.
For Shari Kasman, the Bloordale local who gave the beach its designation in late May (and also sells Bloordale Beach postcards), it's more about the public reclaiming an unused space during a time when social distancing is paramount yet feels increasingly difficult.
"There's no reason for it to be closed," says Kasman. "The reason they fenced it off is because it was a 'hazard'. It's clearly not a hazard... People should be able to take advantage of it. It should be everyone's beach."
The site, which sits amidst the Built a Better Bloor Dufferin redevelopment, is currently owned by the TDSB, which plans to build a new high school eventually.
But the repurposed site has taken off amongst the masses, so, yes, Bloordale Beach is officially a thing. One person, Richard Anderson, even made a quick video about it.
Even the TDSB's constantly replacing fencing hasn't stopped people from entering the site through one of five entrances and tinkering with the space.
Brilliant project to reclaim commodified land that is slated for millions in private profit at while displacing many people from their homes. #BloordaleBeach Imagine if thousands of RGI housing units were built here, there’d still be space for a beach. pic.twitter.com/cmSrEX0G3z— Greg C (@c_shadowspaces) June 23, 2020
There are now official Bloordale Beach signs, and construction "Danger" signs have become "Linger" signs, "Trespassing" has become "Relaxing".
There aren't any beach chairs (it's BYOC here), but there are some dusty pylons and an abandoned shopping cart. Plenty of people actually come here to sunbathe.
The Bloordale Beach is as fantastic as everyone is saying. pic.twitter.com/NDXd70Whpl— Three Geese Radius (@shawnmicallef) June 17, 2020
To the side, there's a grassy area dubbed the Bloordale Meadow, for when you need some shady reprieve. The occasional public art installation delights visitors too: one time it was a pair of mannequin's legs with a nail in its butt.
Today I learned about the Bloordale Beach. pic.twitter.com/EEN8axcvyV— Jeremy Boxen (@JeremyBoxen) June 22, 2020
And if you're scared someone will come and tear down all that good work, don't you worry: Bloordale Beach is actually a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Very excited to see Bloordale Beach has reviews on Google Maps from people I actually don’t at all know pic.twitter.com/m9h3zCsgO6— Shari Kasman (@smkasman) June 21, 2020
You can also get a postcard, which Kasman designed and is now sold at the gift store, Town, on Bloor. Or you can DM Kasman on social media and she'll bring you one herself — just meet her at the beach.
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