October, 2009 Archive

Beach Home Takes a Month to Sell

October 28th, 2009 by nsalter in House, Two Bedroom

So it’s not all sunshine and lollipops in the Toronto Beach, in terms of listed homes flying into the hands of buyers within a couple of days.  Sometimes as a seller, you have to stick it out.

With nine-foot main floor ceilings and private parking, a semi-detached two-storey home at Queen and Willow sold for just under its asking price of $479,900 – and took just over a month to do so.

Despite the amenities of this century home (circa 1908) – a private drive, original charm and character, a recently renovated family room in the basement, a wood-burning brick fireplace and a renovated eat-in kitchen with skylight, cathedral ceiling and walkout to deck – it was only able to command a selling price of $467,500, fairly modest for this neighbourhood.

According to listing agent Phil Sybal, the house was meant to attract buyers who might have left The Beach for a number of years only to want to move back into this great location for its children-friendly environment, great schools, parks, the lake and Queen Street.

Perhaps they were disappointed by the fact that the cottage-y feel comes at a price – only two bedrooms above ground, plus one in the basement – and all that broadloom everywhere – a minor impediment some buyers can’t see past!

If you have a home in the Beach that you’re thinking of putting up for sale, or would like to buy a home in the Beach, contact Phil Sybal, Royal LePage Estate Realty, Brokerage.

Toronto Beach Gets Green with Solar Laundromat

October 28th, 2009 by nsalter in Neighbourhood Reviews

Turning a business into an eco-friendly operation typically means raising initial costs, but it will benefit the business in the long run—Toronto’s Beach Solar Laundromat at 2240 Queen Street East, is a prime example of that.

The laundromat’s 70-year-old business experienced a heating system overhaul in 2002/2003, in which eight solar thermal panels were retrofitted. The solar panels now heat the laundromat’s water, which has reduced natural gas and electricity consumption by 30%. Not only is the Beach Solar Laundromat making for a greener planet, it has seen a 160% increase in revenue because of all the people choosing this laundromat on purpose to reduce their energy consumption!

Why else should you choose the Solar Laundromat instead of others in the Beach?  Well, their fluff & fold service has actually won an award for environmental friendliness, and they hire newcomers to Canada to perform these services so they can learn valuable job skills.  The Laundromat is open 364 days per year at 5:00 a.m., and they have a seamstress on site.

Will you make a special effort to take your wash to the Solar laundromat or stick with your regular guys?

Victory for Toronto Beach Dog Owners?

October 21st, 2009 by nsalter in Uncategorized

Just like Beaches residents have been saying all along…people should be allowed to walk their dogs on the city’s swimming beaches during the winter months, a city council committee has agreed.  But not all of Toronto’s beaches will be a doggie free for all.

Under a compromise, dog owners would be able to stroll the beach with their leashed dogs from Nov. 1 to March 31 except in the eastern waterfront, where dogs will be able to run off-leash in certain areas of Balmy, Kew and Woodbine beaches.

The recommendation, adopted Thursday by the parks and environment committee, goes to city council at the end of the month for a final decision.

Since February, when a dog-walking ban on beaches used for swimming was imposed by council for environmental reasons, Beach residents spurred by the Toronto Beaches Dog Association have pushed for an off-leash winter exemption. They say they’ve informally been allowed that in previous years.

City public health officials are concerned about dog waste in the sand contributing to contaminated water, along with geese and gull droppings, sewage overflows and storm runoff.

Do you wish you could walk your dog on the beach in winter, or is it not an issue?  Tell us!

Transit Changes to Improve Toronto Beach Transport

October 20th, 2009 by nsalter in Uncategorized

The morning commute affects people across Toronto, but particularly Beach residents, many of whom don’t have cars.  This week the TTC begins a premium-fare bus service aimed at a more elite rider.  The bus will make five runs to downtown during the morning rush hour, and six runs back in the afternoon rush. As with the other four premium routes — Etobicoke, Mount Pleasant, Avenue Road and the Don Valley — the bus makes a few stops at one end and then heads directly downtown.

A ride costs $5. The routes are regular city buses, and there’s no guarantee they’re any quicker. But they are supposed to be more direct, and less crowded than regular routes.

As well, the great Queen streetcar split began on Monday, the TTC announced.  The split, a trial aimed at seeing whether it solves the route’s reliability issues, will run weekdays through Nov. 20. The current route, stretching from the eastern Beach all the way to Long Branch in Etobicoke, is a 49-kilometre round trip known for its sheer size.

Obviously, the iconic run has long-standing troubles with bunching and delays, especially when snow is a factor.  Even minor delays compound themselves on a line as long as the 501, causing bunching in some areas, large gaps in others and, worst of all, short turns. That happens when cars are so far off schedule, they turn around early to make up the lost time, stranding passengers on their way home and waiting to be picked up.

Under the split, westbound Queen cars will run from Neville Park to Shaw Street, then loop back east. Queen cars eastbound from Long Branch will loop at Parliament Street. The downtown overlap is designed to minimize the number of transfers for people travelling between the route’s extremities and the downtown core.

Riders in the Beach revolted two years ago after suffering daily frustration on short-turning streetcars.

John Chamberlain, the TTC superintendent of the Queen project, insisted earlier this year that changes have already improved the service. He points to the Step Forward program, which partly separates the drivers’ and cars’ schedules, allowing new crews to relieve late drivers and drastically reducing the number of short turns. But he says some people are skeptical about the split-run plan.

After the split-route trial finishes on Nov. 21, the 501 will return to its current configuration until January, when Mr. Chamberlain presents his final report to commissioners on the Queen car.

Do you plan to take the special bus – or do you think the streetcar change will improve your commute?  Let us know!

16th Annual Beach Studio Tour FREE This Weekend!

October 13th, 2009 by nsalter in Neighbourhood Events

Save the date…this coming weekend, Toronto Beach residents and visitors can enjoy a self guided tour to see and buy original art and hand-made designs from 23 local artists at 14 studios in the beautiful Beaches! With free admission, and the chance to buy one of a kind works including fine art, sculpture, photography, textiles, ceramics, handbags and jewellery…think holiday shopping without the big price tag of some other craft shows!

The event is being presented by the Beach Studio Tour collective.  You can check it out this Friday October 16 from 6-9 pm, Saturday the 17th from 10 am – 6 pm, and Sunday October 18  from11 am – 6 pm.  It runs from Woodbine Avenue to Victoria Park Avenue in the Beach Neighbourhood.  Because the artists open their studios and homes to the public, check out the exact locations and artists here.

If you’re TTC-ing it into the Beach: Take the Woodbine South bus from the Woodbine subway and get off at Queen Street or take the Queen Street Streetcar from any point on Queen Street, or the Coxwell south number 22 bus and get off at Kingston Road and Waverley – walk south.

See you there!

Two Upper Beach Homes Offer Value, Amenities

October 13th, 2009 by nsalter in Three Bedroom

Two recent listings for homes for sale in the Upper Beach present opportunities for newbies to the neighbourhood to get their foothold in (or at least, near) the coveted Toronto Beach.

The first, a 3-bedroom townhome at 307F Coxwell Avenue, is priced at only $339,000 – excellent value for a large space. Though it’s hard to see how the property could be ‘a short stroll to Lake Ontario and Ashbridges Bay, or to Danforth Avenue and the Subway’ as it’s billed, it’s certainly between the two, and a decent bus ride from either. Built less than 8 years ago, the turnkey townhome would be an excellent first-time purchase as the taxes are low, and it will not require much upkeep for the forseeable future.

Features of the home, offered for sale by Daniel Freeman of Freeman Real Estate, include a spacious open concept main floor, family-sized kitchen with lovely natural wood style cabinets and white appliances opening to a breakfast room framed by large west facing windows, oak hardwood flooring, a private garden, 2 skylights, hi-grade fabric backed berber carpet in the bedrooms, a 4-piece semi-ensuite, and a high finished basement family room with separate entrance and access to the rear garden.

Our second opportunity is offered for sale by Nuria Cano-Ortiz of Coldwell Banker Terrequity.  With an asking price of $649,00, the home at 366 Kingswood Road would perhaps be better suited to move-up buyers!  Thoroughly restored and modernized, the home was built in 1925.  There will be a public open house this coming Saturday & Sunday, October 17 & 18, from 2-5 pm for the curious and interested!

Features of this three bedroom house include open concept living, dining, kitchen and powder room with maple hardwood floors; a custom built gas fireplace; a handmade (!) galley kitchen with island and very fancy sink and stainless steel appliances/ fixtures; 3 spa-like baths; newly landscaped yard and large lot…the list goes on and on.

Whatever your price range, the Upper Beach has a little something for everyone!  Are you considering a move to the Beaches?  Let us know!

Beach Residents Fight Proposed Condo Project

October 5th, 2009 by nsalter in Condo

Everyone seems to want a piece of the Beach these days.  This weekend, area residents and interested Torontonians were invited to get (re)acquainted with the special character of the Beaches neighbourhood during a Toronto Heritage Walk that promised to explore some of the neighbourhood sites that highlight important local personalities, institutions and landmarks. But if preserving the character of the community is so important, why are developers continually trying to build condos that would block Beach residents off from what makes the neighbourhood so unique?

Toronto Beach residents recently flocked to an Ontario Municipal Board hearing to fight a proposed four-storey condo project they fear will block off Lake Ontario.  The development, which would span the beachfront between Munro Park Avenue and Neville Park Boulevard, would dwarf surrounding houses, block views of the lake and could harm the fragile environment of the lakefront, homeowners said.

The residents and the Beach Lakefront Neighbourhood Association, a group formed in response to the proposed development, are concerned it would set a dangerous precedent in the Beaches.

City of Toronto senior city planner Leontine Major told the hearing the development, by developers Sweeny Sterling Finlayson and Co., is not appropriate for the neighbourhood.

The OMB hearing continues until Friday.  Read more about this subject, and let us know:  would you oppose the proposed development or let condo owners have their own little piece of the Beach?

Waterfront Skateboard Park Opens in Toronto Beach

October 5th, 2009 by nsalter in Neighbourhood Reviews

The new Beach Skateboard Park is now open!  The unique park takes a progressive approach to skateboard park design. It is Toronto’s first urban skate plaza, based on real-life street structures. The huge street-style skateboard park is approximately 6,500 square metres (70,000 square feet) and suitable for all levels and abilities. Elements include a floating manual dish, concrete recliner, kinked steep bank and Daewon Song style pad. The park also includes a high degree of architectural detailing, such as planting areas, among the skateboarding elements.

Councillor Sandra Bussin (Ward 32 Beaches-East York) and Councillor Paula Fletcher (Ward 30 Toronto Danforth), Chair of the City’s Parks and Environment Committee, joined skateboard enthusiasts, community members, representatives of Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation and the Southeast Toronto Skateboard Association to officially open the new Beach Skateboard Park this past weekend, located on the northwest corner of Lake Shore Boulevard East and Coxwell Avenue.

“The youth from the Ashbridge’s Bay and Beach community were instrumental in the skateboard park’s development process,” said Councillor Bussin. “Now, we have an important regional skate destination that is relevant to the needs of our youth and will draw skateboard enthusiasts from across the city to Toronto’s waterfront.”

The City of Toronto’s Parks, Forestry and Recreation Division has been working with the community on the conceptual design since 2005 and started in 2006 to develop the site for a skateboard park. The development was initiated by a local community group of skateboarders and their parents who formed the Southeast Toronto Skateboard Association (STSA) in 2002 to address the need of skateboarding facilities in the Beach/South Riverdale/East York area.

The STSA skateboarders worked on the Beach Skateboard Park design with internationally acclaimed skatepark designer Jim Barnum of Spectrum Skatepark Creations of Vancouver, B.C., and landscape architects Land Inc. of Toronto.

Will you be trying out the new park?  Let us know!