Toronto/East End

The East End is a district of Toronto. It is known for its Greektown, the beaches of The Beach district and the trendy shops and restaurants along Queen St East.

Understand

Orientation

Kew Gardens in The Beach

The East End used to be the most easterly portion of old city of Toronto before it amalgamated with its immediate suburbs in 1998. (Scarborough is now the most easterly portion of today's Toronto.)

The East End is made up of various districts or neighbourhoods such as Greektown, Leslieville, Riverside District Gerard Indian Bazaar & The Beach. It's a varied, vibrant part of town. Although largely residential, the East End is defined by commercial districts with an interesting mix of small shops, restaurants and bars along its major thoroughfares (Queen St. East, Gerrard St. East, Danforth Ave.), where the majority of the attractions are located, and the residential streets where most of the neighbourhood's residents live. These residential streets are quiet and shaded by old oaks and maples, and contain old homes and townhouses of an astonishing variety of architectural styles.

Embedded within these residential streets are a number of large parks, including Riverdale Park, with its breathtaking view of the skyline, Withrow Park, Greenwood Park, Jimmie Simpson Park, Kew Gardens, Beaches Park, and countless smaller neighbourhood parks.

The main throughfare of the East End is Danforth Ave (locally called The Danforth) of which the most lively stretch lies between Broadview Ave. and Jones Ave. Between those two streets, there are two retail business areas. The area west of Chester Ave (and Chester Subway Station) has been branded "The Danforth" by the local merchants while the area east of Chester Ave is the more lively Greektown. However, from a visitor point of view, it is one continuous district, full of restaurants, bars, cafes, and shops with a greater concentration of Greek businesses in Greektown, which has the largest Greek community in North America. The combined area attracts residents and non-residents alike creating a busy, bustling, vibrant place, especially on summer weekends. In August, the 2-day Taste of the Danforth festival brings over one million participants to the neighbourhood to fill The Danforth, which is closed off to traffic.

Along Queen Street East in the East End there are 3 other districts all having a mix of small shops, restaurants and bars. They are, from west to east, Riverside District (at Broadview Ave.), Leslieville (between Logan Ave. and Leslie Street) and the very popular Beach district (between Woodbine Ave. and Neville Park Boulevard).

Riverside District is a small shopping/restaurant district with some attractive old buildings such as the Queen/Saulter library building. The New Broadview Hotel, a older landmark in the district, is being converted from a rundown establishment and striptease bar into a boutique hotel. This district was once used as a movie set for the film Cinderella Man.

In Leslieville, an enormous revitalization effort has been under way, transforming an area once known for its booze-cans, cheap diners, and tacky furniture shops into one of the hippest up-and-coming areas in the city. A plethora of new restaurants, eateries, bars, bakeries and shops have made this a real gastronomic destination, and since it has been the centre of Toronto's film industry for years, the Queen East has finally reached a tipping point, drawing in hip, young, upwardly mobile people from all over the GTA, transforming the area from a low-rent backwater into a trendsetter reminiscent of Queen West in the early 90's.

Further east on Queen Street, past Woodbine Ave., the long-established Beach neighbourhood (a.k.a The Beaches) attracts thousands of visitors during the summer, who dine and drink in its restaurants and bars, walk the boardwalk by the lake, sunbathe on the sand beach, bring the kids to the park at Kew Gardens, or walk around the residential streets with their unique homes and laid-back atmosphere.

These are not the only attractions the East End has to offer: there's also Chinatown East radiating from the intersection of Gerrard Street and Broadview Avenue , a smaller, quieter version of Spadina's Chinatown with many fresh food markets and restaurants; Gerrard India Bazaar (a.k.a. Little India) on Gerrard between Greenwood and Woodbine is especially lively in the summertime when South Asians from all over the GTA descend on the neighbourhood to catch a Bollywood flick at one of the only Bollywood movie theatres in the city, enjoy barbecued corn on the street, chew paan purchased from one of the specialized vendors, browse the many shops, jewelry stores, and sari boutiques, or eat in one of a number of South Asian restaurants.

History

Leslieville

Leslieville began as a small village in the 1850s, which grew up around the Toronto Nurseries owned by George Leslie and sons, after whom the community is named. Most of Leslieville's residents were gardeners or were employed at one of the brick-making factories in the area.

Alexander Muir, the composer of The Maple Leaf Forever, was the first principal of the Leslieville Public School, one of the first buildings in the village. Muir was inspired when a brilliant maple leaf fell on his jacket from a Leslieville tree. Though the tree fell victim to a storm in the summer of 2013, the maple wood will be repurposed to honour its history.

Get in

Going East on Bloor Street by subway, bus or car, you cross the Prince Edward Viaduct made famous by the Michael Ondaatje book In the Skin of a Lion. This bridge was, until recently, also infamous for having a high suicide rate. The city installed barriers to prevent people from jumping off the bridge into the Don Valley below. After you cross the Don Valley the street name changes to Danforth and there are lots of Greek restaurants. The main section of restaurants and cool shops is between Ellerbeck and Pape with Carrot Common (at Chester subway) being ground zero.

By subway

Subway line 2 Bloor-Danforth has 4 stations to serve Greektown: Broadview, Chester, Pape and Donlands.

If you are approaching Broadview Station by subway from the west, then get on the very front of the train and look out the front window for a cool view of crossing the Prince Edward Viaduct. Kids love it. If the seats by the covetous rail fan window are occupied, then try to get a window seat on the right side of the train in order to see the view of the valley while on the bridge. There is a different view for each direction.

The Bloor-Danforth subway line 2 has a number of stations in the East End with with connections to streetcars and buses to move people north and south from the Danforth. From Broadview Station, you can take the 504 King or 505 Dundas streetcar to Chinatown East, or the 504 King streetcar to Riverside District. From Woodbine Station, you can take the 92 Woodbine South bus to the west end of The Beach. From Coxwell Station, you can take the 22 Coxwell bus to Gerrard Street to visit Gerrard India Bazaar.

By streetcar

The 501 Queen streetcar services the nearly the breadth of the East End, with bus connections to most of the stops on Bloor-Danforth subway line 2 between Pape and Coxwell stations. It directly serves Riverside District, Leslieville and The Beach.

The 504 King enters the East End from Downtown along King Street and then heads north along Broadview Avenue. terminating at Broadview Station on Bloor-Danforth subway line 2. It directly serves Riverside District, Chinatown East and the west end of Greektown.

The 505 Dundas enters the East End from Downtown along Dundas Street, and like the 504, also heads north along Broadview Avenue to Broadview Station. It directly serves Chinatown East and the west end of Greektown.

The 506 Carlton mostly runs along Gerrard Street through the East End, all the way to Main Street where it turns north to terminate at the Main Street Station on Bloor-Danforth subway line 2. It directly serves Chinatown East and Gerrard India Bazaar.

By car

The Don Valley Parkway provides the easiest access from the Hwy 401. Head south on the DVP to the Bloor exit if looking to go to Greektown / the Danforth. Exit and follow the road up the hill and you will come to a light - turn left. You are at CastleFrank subway and about to cross the bridge which will become the Danforth once you pass Broadview.

If you're looking to go to the southern part of the East End (the Beach), exit at Lake Shore Blvd from the DVP / Gardner Expressway. Follow Lakeshore Blvd east until it becomes Woodbine Ave and turn right onto Queen St East.

By bike

Alternatively, there is the bike path along Bloor which ends at Broadview/Danforth. This route allows you to stop in the middle of the Prince Edward Viaduct for a spectacular view of the Don Valley south to the lake including all the skyscrapers of downtown. Or another bike route is to travel along the Don bike path from north or south and exit the path at Pottery Road (long uphill warning) with the reward of Dairy Queen at the top of the hill. This DQ has one of the best views of the city. From the DQ head south on Broadview to the Danforth and then to the east.

See

Chinatown East

Greektown & The Danforth

Leslieville

Riverside District

The Beach

Do

Theatres

La dolce vita

Outdoor activities

Festivals

Buy

The Beach

Gerrard India Bazaar

Greektown & The Danforth

Leslieville

Riverside District

Eat

Here are listings by district within the East End.

Chinatown East

Gerrard India Bazaar

Greektown & The Danforth

There is lots of choice for restaurants in Greektown. After dinner, the sidewalks lure many locals out for a casual stroll along "The Danforth". It's a great way to spend a summer weekend evening.

Leslieville

Riverside District

The Beach

Garden Gate Restaurant affectionately known as "The Goof"

There are many restaurants along Queen Street East in The Beach.

Drink

Greektown & The Danforth

The Beach

Upper Leslieville

Upper Leslieville is located along Gerrard Street, north of Queen Street East.

Sleep

Cope

Public washrooms are located along the beach at Balmy Beach (at the foot of Silver Birch Ave.), Kew Gardens (at the foot of Lee Avenue), Ashbridge's Bay Park, Woodbine Beach Park.

Connect

Beaches Library, 2161 Queen St. East, +1 416 393-7703, . Free computer and internet access. M-Th 9AM-8:30PM, F-Sa 9AM-5PM.

Go next

Routes through the East End

Etobicoke Downtown East  W  E  Scarborough END
END Entertainment and Financial Districts  W  E  Scarborough Oshawa
Whitchurch-Stouffville Scarborough  N  S  Entertainment and Financial Districts END


This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Saturday, April 02, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.