News   Apr 18, 2024
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The Beach(es)

People have been complaining of empty storefronts in the Beach for years. My theory is that the Beach gentrified with a lot of people from the suburbs looking to replicate a car-oriented lifestyle in the City. They mainly liked the unique geography of the area and the leafy streets, which are quite different from those in the typical Mississauga or Vaughan neighbourhood.

Other neighbourhoods gentrified with people who were drawn to the main street. It's not necessarily a singles vs. families issue. There are plenty of mature people in the Junction, on the Danforth, or in Swansea who like to shop and dine on the local main street with their families.

That is also my theory.

The Beaches have character you cannot find in many other places but the people that live there order from Amazon, they go to big box stores and they are not too concerned with small local stores.

I have been hanging out in the beaches since around 2004 and it has changed ALOT. When I was in High School (Birchmount Park Collegiate), many of my friends lived down that way but they have all since moved away.

Back around 2005 when the Queen Street Streetcar Construction took place, shops started closing because due to a lack of business, then in 2008 the economy tanked and small business again took a hit.

The area never fully recovered and not many people are looking at opening back up that along Queen.

As I said, the area and the demographics are changing. The clientele that frequented those stores are retiring and leaving the area. The millennials that are replacing them would rather order on Amazon than go to a small independent shop.
 
My millennial lives in the Beach (my parents who grew up there are rolling in their graves at the house prices) and walks and bikes everywhere, as do her friends who live there. When we visit we frequently head down to a coffee shop and often enjoy a local establishment for food and drink. There are always plenty of people out and about, although they do seem more interested in the restaurants than in the shops.
 
My millennial lives in the Beach (my parents who grew up there are rolling in their graves at the house prices) and walks and bikes everywhere, as do her friends who live there. When we visit we frequently head down to a coffee shop and often enjoy a local establishment for food and drink. There are always plenty of people out and about, although they do seem more interested in the restaurants than in the shops.

I can relate. I usually go to the Eggplant than one of the many houseware shops or Bakeries.
 
Making their debut in the Beaches does seem like an against the grain type of move. Typically, you'd imagine a chain like that to look at downtown Dundas, Yonge Street or maybe Bloor/Bathurst area to appeal to post secondary students or up in North York CC.

Curious to see how they do in the area over there. One thing that the Beaches do have going for them is the appeal for visitors in the summer time.

The above is in reference to Torisho (Karagge Chicken place)

***

Just a note here, I popped in the other day to grab some of their Green Bean Tempura as a snack......and asked how they were doing......

The answer was cautiously worded, but one might reasonably conclude business was decent last summer, but has been quite slow through the winter months.

This is a common problem for business in the Beach.

I hope any shortcomings in the numbers don't dissuade the backers from opening more locations, its good eats.

That said, this location, I think shows some design mistakes from a new-to-market concept.

They have zero indoor eating space, not one seat, not one stand-up bar.

The problem with this, from my perspective is that many people eating here will gladly go enjoy the outdoor space in nearby Kew Gardens to consume their food, in good weather, in spring/summer/fall.

But the absence of somewhere to eat when its raining, or in the colder days of winter makes the business almost solely reliant on take-out to take-home orders. In an area with very limited parking, and the majority of homes located up hill, that seems a very challenging business case.
 
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Not my pic, by a fellow named Phil Marion, who posts regularly in the Beach FB group:

1681615729824.png


Taken from: https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbi...et=gm.10160041012149442&idorvanity=2322679441
 
That is also my theory.

The Beaches have character you cannot find in many other places but the people that live there order from Amazon, they go to big box stores and they are not too concerned with small local stores.

I have been hanging out in the beaches since around 2004 and it has changed ALOT. When I was in High School (Birchmount Park Collegiate), many of my friends lived down that way but they have all since moved away.

Back around 2005 when the Queen Street Streetcar Construction took place, shops started closing because due to a lack of business, then in 2008 the economy tanked and small business again took a hit.

The area never fully recovered and not many people are looking at opening back up that along Queen.

As I said, the area and the demographics are changing. The clientele that frequented those stores are retiring and leaving the area. The millennials that are replacing them would rather order on Amazon than go to a small independent shop.
People have been complaining of empty storefronts in the Beach for years. My theory is that the Beach gentrified with a lot of people from the suburbs looking to replicate a car-oriented lifestyle in the City. They mainly liked the unique geography of the area and the leafy streets, which are quite different from those in the typical Mississauga or Vaughan neighbourhood.

Other neighbourhoods gentrified with people who were drawn to the main street. It's not necessarily a singles vs. families issue. There are plenty of mature people in the Junction, on the Danforth, or in Swansea who like to shop and dine on the local main street with their families.

Great points.

Funny enough, I think the closure of the small McDonalds on Queen (at Lee?) in the mid 00s may have been the canary in the coal mine for the strip, highlighting the drop in pedestrian activity along the strip.

Also, I suspect a lot of the family day-trippers that drive in from Scarborough or the outer burbs forego the retail strip altogether, preferring to pack their lunches and staying in the parks.

As a kid in the 90s, every day-trip to the Boardwalk would always include a visit to Queen Street Lick’s and Book City.
 
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Great points.

Funny enough, I think the closure of the small McDonalds on Queen (at Lee?) in the mid 00s may have been the canary in the coal mine for the strip, highlighting the drop in pedestrian activity along the strip.

Licks may be the better example.

It closed for condo development under the premise it would reopen.

The Beaches licks was one of their first and had been there for decades. It's closure was the point in my opinion, when the area changed.
 
Licks may be the better example.

It closed for condo development under the premise it would reopen.

The Beaches licks was one of their first and had been there for decades. It's closure was the point in my opinion, when the area changed.

Yes, great example. See my edited post which notes the Lick’s experience in the 90s. I remember lines out to the sidewalk.
 
I just found this thread. Great!

I lived in The Beach until school age then moved back when I bought my first house there in the '70s. It was in the Track Triangle and affordable especially if you rented out the basement and shared the upstairs with friends. That pocket had several rooming houses and for over a year a guy lived in his pickup truck on my street. I did not have parking and tickets were like a monthly fee you expected to pay, especially when the track was open

Woodbine was then known as The Wall by the cops, as it was thought that most of the crime happened west of it.

It was early in my career and before going on shift I would start every day with breakfast at The Goof. Everyone knew each other and it was like living in a small town. Life was good.

I moved to Scarborough Bluffs in the 80's, but still have friends and spend time in The Beach.

I posted this photo in another UT thread, but here it is again.

That's the Balmy Beach Club in the bottom right.

DJI_0036-HDR-2.jpeg
 
The Wolfe Tone Irish Pub opened at Queen Street East & Kenilworth back in Nov 2023:

 
That is also my theory.

The Beaches have character you cannot find in many other places but the people that live there order from Amazon, they go to big box stores and they are not too concerned with small local stores.

I chuckled reading this. An east end friend of mine said that The Beaches are a street car suburb with the sensibilities of a suburb suburb. 😆
 
And those sensibilities are pretty visible. Front yard parking pads seem like they're mandatory on some blocks and the streets south of Queen, from Wineva to Glen Manor, are the most deforested, barren streets in the east end. And they're the streets that end directly at the beach! It's one of those places that attracts the people who immediately set about wrecking the things that drew them to the area.
 
And those sensibilities are pretty visible. Front yard parking pads seem like they're mandatory on some blocks and the streets south of Queen, from Wineva to Glen Manor, are the most deforested, barren streets in the east end. And they're the streets that end directly at the beach! It's one of those places that attracts the people who immediately set about wrecking the things that drew them to the area.

The Beaches, for an urban neighbourhood, is quite hard (long) to reach downtown via transit, especially during rush our. It has one of the highest rates of commuting via car in the old city limits.

Car, truck or van as percentage of Total - Main mode of commuting - Census 2021
1708550574394.png

Via Censusmapper.ca
 
Interesting. My kid and some extended family members live in The Beach. My roots are there (both parents, grandparents, etc. -- the house my dad was born in was just torn down and modern townhouses thrown up :( -- but I digress). They commute by bike, TTC and/or GO regularly, just using their one car per family for out-of-town travel. I take the GO when I go there. They love it over the car-centric suburbs. It appears that my Beachy family are outliers.
 

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