As expected, Toronto’s east end lies just east of the downtown area. What isn’t so obvious about the east end, though, is just how idyllic it can be. While it’s always hard to generalize, this area is undeniably more unflustered than the heart of the city. For both house and condo residents.
Everything just seems to move at a slightly slower pace in the east end, and that’s a welcome change for many Torontonians — especially those who opt to live here. Another reason to move east of the Don River is the abundance of outdoor spaces. Separated from Riverdale Park West by the Don Valley, Riverdale Park East boasts an outdoor swimming pool, a skating trail, and arguably one of the best sunset viewing spots in the city.
In addition to revered green spaces, beaches also happen to line the southern edge of the east end. Technically one long stretch of beach, different portions have been given names of their own, such as Woodbine Beach, Ashbridges Bay Park, and Kew Balmy Beach.
City planners, developers, and residents alike have put the natural landscape of Toronto’s east end to good use: the Ashbridges Bay Yacht Club is set up just west of Woodbine Beach; the Donald D. Summerville Olympic Pool sits on a raised platform and offers great views of the lake below; and the Balmy Beach Club, a membership-based community hub, allows members to participate in everything from paddling to volleyball, and even lawn bowling.
Toronto’s east end is also home to numerous event venues, ready to entertain fans with a variety of interests. The Opera House and the Danforth Music Hall are perfect for music buffs, while film fanatics can head over to the Fox Theatre, which has been screening movies since 1914. As for live theatre, there’s no better place in the East End than Crowsnest, the 2017-built venue for the Crow’s Theatre.
Torontonians flock to the east end from all areas for one other very good reason: the food. Between Greektown, East Chinatown, and the Gerrard India Bazaar, visitors have plenty of cuisines to choose from. While the longstanding Pakistani restaurant Lahore Tikka House is good enough to have been featured on You Gotta Eat Here, there are plenty of other lesser-known spots that are certainly worth a try.
Toronto’s east end contains a much smaller concentration of skyscrapers and high-density condos than the downtown core. Instead, this area is home to an abundance of hard lofts set in historical structures. These authentic lofts are especially common in Leslieville & South Riverdale, and notable buildings include The Printing Factory, the Garment Factory Lofts, the Glebe Lofts, and the Printers Row Lofts. It’s worth noting though that these lofts are all technically condos.
Contemporary developers have certainly been inspired by these historical conversions, and the result is a large number of ‘soft lofts’ that imitate them. Streetcar Developments, a firm with a dedication to strengthening culturally rich neighbourhoods through the creation of residential real estate developments, is responsible for numerous east end condos developments — many of which happen to be soft lofts.
While larger condo developments are few and far between in the east end, townhouses are copious, especially in The Beaches and Upper Beaches. Those looking for the aesthetics of a house with all the perks of a condo can start their search with the Upper Beach Villas Townhomes, the Upper Beach Townes, the Beach Flats, the Williamson Garden Townhomes, or the Riverside Towns Condos.
The Bloor-Danforth line is the only subway route that crosses the east end, and this line is especially useful for anyone living in the northernmost portion of the area. Thankfully, condo residents living down by the water can use buses moving up arterial roads like Greenwood and Coxwell to reach the subway.
Those living in Leslieville or the Beaches may forgo the subway altogether, and take the Queen or Dundas streetcars instead. By doing so, travelers can reach the downtown core in no time, where they can connect onto trains moving north and south along the Yonge-University-Spadina line.
The traffic in the east end is typically lighter than in the city centre — a fact that may very well attract drivers to this area. Lake Shore Boulevard East and Kingston Road are fast-paced routes for getting around the immediate area, while those heading north can simply hop on the Don Valley Parkway.
The Locals: Looking for something slightly out of the ordinary and somewhat more calm.
Code of Conduct: There’s no better way to spend summertime weekends than at the beach.
What You’ll Find: Homes that reveal the area’s rich history, surrounded by plenty of grass, water, and sand.
What You Won’t Find: Every brand name store under the sun.
The Homes: Everything from century-old single-family homes to boutique condos and authentic hard lofts.
Sealing the Deal: The ability to walk to the beach.