Long Branch Bowl is Toronto's secret oasis next to a huge new waterfront park
The Long Branch Bowl is a completely made-up name for a very real spot.
Found on the western edge of Toronto's waterfront and named after the neighbourhood of Long Branch, the Bowl is a somewhat protected bay sheltered by two man-made spits jetting out from both Colonel Sam Smith Park in the east and Marie Curtis Park to the west.
It's the ideal location for beginners and experienced paddlers alike, providing a unique and quieter slice of Toronto's waterfront.
Paddlers enter the water from Len Ford Park, where there is a small rocky beach providing easy access.
Paddling east and hugging the shoreline, enjoy the close-ups of prime lakefront properties. Paddle slow, and daydream big.
Long Branch holds the highest concentration of Toronto lakefront homes; some are cottagey, some are uber-modern, some have secret boathouses, one is for sale for just under $4 million, and one even owns a cannon.
A kilometer in, slip your way into the sheltered Lakeshore Yacht Club, where nearly 100 boats are docked and where the waters are as still as glass.
Heading back out and across the waters to the western side of the bowl at Marie Curtis, paddlers get a sneak peak of the still-being-built 64-acre waterfront park.
Literally rising from the lake, 140 trucks a day have entered the site since 2016, dumping its contents, creating new waterfront, wetlands and trails, all out of old fill. It is set to open in 2024.
Paddling along the long western stretch of Marie Curtis beach you soon come to the mouth of Etobicoke Creek. Head north up the creek allows you to experience the park in a new way.
Coming out from the creek and going left, you pass perhaps the possibly most underappreciated beach in Toronto, Marie Curtis beach.
Paddling on, you have another kilometer stretch of lakefront homes, another kilometer to daydream how you would spend your time on the shore looking out.
Sometimes being on the water and looking in is good too.
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