5 essential shops and restaurants in the Beaches that have stood the test of time
The Beaches community and neighbourhood in Toronto is known for, of course, the beach.
But beyond the waves and sand lies a neighbourhood that in recent years have seen quite a lot change - both good and bad.
Over here the community camaraderie is strong and as a result, has allowed a number of independent businesses to thrive for decades and become local stalwart locations.
Here's a closer look at some of them.
This family-friendly bistro has been its current location at 2024 Queen Street East for six years, after moving living down the block at 1968 Queen for 16 years.
Though original ownership has changed, Liz and the rest of the management team are dedicated on delivering classic Green Eggplant plates.
I've noticed that it's quieter at night. We used to be cashing out at midnight on Saturday nights and now [the customers] are out of here by nine.
I don't know if it's the people are here who moved or the economy but we definitely used to have lineups around the block
The menu. A lot of our signature dishes haven't changed, we've introduced a few dishes here and there.
We always have our signature homemade dips that we bring to the table; the baba ganoush, hummus and fried eggplant. The clientele has stayed the same, it's still very family oriented.
It still seems to be going pretty smooth so far, there's no word I’ve heard about changing going forward. The online orders are still very popular. I don't see much changing in the future besides the economy.
Serving up classic French-inspired dishes like foie gros torchon and braised lamb shank, Sauignon Bistro owners Gregoire Godin and Stephane Poquet have been running the joint for nearly 24 years at 1862 Queen Street East.
(Gregoire) A lot, here especially because of the development across the street, it just started when we opened, because it used to be the old race track so they tore that down and it used to be the one condo - that was good for us.
(Gregoire) The concept has kind of stayed the same but we've expanded over the years. There used to be a dry cleaners in here, 500 square feet, so in the fifth year we took it over and then we expanded the kitchen and then we got the patios.
(Stephane) The future looks good, we've got five years on the lease. We've got no plans of going anywhere. (Gregoire) We’re just hoping things get a little easier.
Part of the iconic Ed's Real Scoop chain, the Beaches location at 2224 Queen Street East has been under the leadership of Rebecca Jones for more than a decade and just recently with the added addition of assistant-manager Travis Johnson, who's been with the store for 11 years. This location has been a staple in the community for 22 years.
Not a [change] to the customers per say but a lot of businesses have come and gone, especially with the pandemic.
I've grown up in the neighbourhood, I've lived here almost my whole life and so I've seen massive changes whether or not they've been involved with the store.
The only difference I've noticed is the ratio of card payment to cash payment, but I don't think that's localized to the store.
We're hoping to do kind of a modern Reno, hopefully in the next couple of months, that's really about it.
One of the first coffee shops that introduced lattes and other mixed drinks to the area, the Remarkable Bean at 1103 Queen Street East was first run by Susan Fowler but has now passed to her children, George and Marianne. Susan tells blogTO about the cafe's 28-year history.
We've lost a lot of the small, kitschy businesses because the rent is so high and the taxes are so high. And you have to pay to park on Queen Street from 9'olock but you don't have to pay on Kingston Road, you don't have to pay on Gerrard after six, so that makes a difference.
We've had staff that came in strollers when they were babies work for us and they bring their kids. The people in the beaches, they never move.
I don't think it's changed that much, it's the same thing, we've always baked, we roast our own coffee.
Our coffee is certified organic and fair-trade. Most of our customers are regulars, we get the summer crowd, because we're the first coffee shop when you walk to the end of the boardwalk.
We have this store and we have one in Leslieville as well, so we're thinking we may open another one, there's a roaster we'd like to buy - but its too big for in here.
One of four Book City locations, the Beaches shop 1950 Queen Street East has been serving the community for around 35 years. Longtime employee Stacey Madden reminisces about the location and ever-changing neighbourhood.
Some of the changes are not positive, like a lot of shuttered businesses, particularly since COVID. I think there's been a lot of like rent increase over the past 10-15 years in the neighbourhood that's caused a lot of small businesses to close.
Thankfully we've survived that - we have a loyal customer base and being part of a minor change. That's the most glaring change I've noticed.
The store has had to adapt somewhat. We've had to increase our merchandise, so non-book merchandise, so we're selling things like journals, bookmarks, puzzles, mugs, gift wrap, you know things of that sort.
We've decreased our magazine section but that probably has to do more with journalism than the book business.
I mean hopefully with the loyal customer base we have, their children and their children's children will grow up to be readers.
I've seen the generations come in over the years, so I'm hoping for that loyalty to remain. And we've done a good job of expanding where we need to and also expanding our books.
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