The latest endeavour for Streetcar Developments is the The Southwood Ravine Collection, a boutique midrise in the Upper Beach, surrounded by beautifully rich green space and overlooking the (protected) picturesque Glen Stewart Ravine. The property is in the heart of a charming community with fabulous local businesses offering a plethora of unique delights. TheSceneinTO was part of a small group of writers invited by the developers to experience some of the wonderful things on offer. It was an incredible night.
We stopped in at six local spots in Upper Beach (along Kingston Rd. and Queen St. E.). First up was Yellow House Gallery, a quaint space that showcases a variety of works, with a focus on local Beach-based artists. We’re told the key is to stop by frequently, as the exhibitions change regularly, so there is always something new to discover. It is a wonderful place to get the close-knit community feel of the locale.
A shop you don’t want to miss is The Art of Cheese. The owner Bill Miller, offers an entertaining exploration into the world of cheese. This man knows his products inside-and-out and offers delicious melt-in-your mouth artisanal cheese. My personal recommendation is the San de Oro, a strong and flavourful cow’s milk cheese from North Eastern Italy.
Collected Joy is a jewel of a shop and shouldn’t be missed. At just over a year old, it’s one of the more recent additions to the neighbourhood and owner Sharon Smyl’s mission is to fill the store with all items beautiful. With something for every taste, you’re sure to find something that piques your fancy. Goods range from locally created jewellery, to delicious jams and fudge, books, pottery, glassware, unique teas and a variety of other small wonders.
We indulged in numerous delights at The Beech Tree restaurant, a cute and cozy spot known for its traditional English pub fare infused with modern twists. Proprietor Robert Maxwell believes in doing everything from scratch and the results are divine. I couldn’t get enough of the Lavender Lychee Martini, the sous-vide short rib with deep-fried broccoli, and every single item on the charcuterie board.
We took a break from eating and drinking to stroll through one of the best features of the neighbourhood, the Glen Stewart Ravine, a gorgeous and peaceful 11-hectare valley. Oak and maple trees abound and the space is rich with a diversity of plant and bird life. The ravine provides a comfortable walk along two pedestrian bridges. The entire space is a lovely oasis to recharge in at the end of a busy day, or to stroll along on a lazy afternoon.
The Chopping Block is a local butcher shop offering the finest in quality, locally raised meats, sourcing their beef, lamb and pork from Ontario farmers. We sampled bison burger, spicy BBQ burger, bison sausage, jerk chicken and leg of lamb with several delicious sauces. Everything is made from scratch by owner Jay Mcnish. Everything was so good, I can’t wait to return to this butcher—it will be worth the road trip.
No evening in the Beaches would be complete without stopping at Ed’s Real Scoop. Here you’ll find some of the finest ice cream in Toronto. There are two other locations in Leslieville and Roncesvalles and they have 100 different flavours of ice cream with selections that change daily. You should definitely have it in a warm waffle cone, it really can’t get any better than that.
The Upper Beaches has a lot to offer by way of green, urban living, but it’s also minutes to the subway line, GO, Don Valley Parkway and the Lakeshore Boulevard.