South of the tracks to the lake between Islington Ave. and Etobicoke Creek.
Lakeshore Blvd. West and Long Branch Ave.
Parks, Lake Ontario access, wide range of housing options, old suburb.
DID YOU KNOW?:
Until 1883, Long Branch was rural, but it was soon transformed to a kind of cottage country for wealthy Torontonian who wished to get away from the increasing pollution of the city at the time. It was first purchased by Thomas Wilkie who subdivided the land it into a 219-lot cottage community with a ten-acre park along the lake that owners of the cottages where able to enjoy. The new seasonal neighbourhood was called Sea Breeze Park.
Long Branch and New Toronto are the two most westerly sections of Toronto along the lake. And even though I’ve been familiar with this area for while, I keep discovering new little tidbits about these two neighbourhoods that makes Long Branch and New Toronto really grow on me. Not like a fungus or a bad rash, but like a new romance, maybe, that builds slowly. It’s one of the few parts of the city where you can live near the lake without being a multi-millionaire, a place where you see one house with a stunning renovation next to a home that looks like some thing the Beverly Hillbillies lived in before they found the oil. You’re surrounded by parks. The area along the lake is walker and dog heaven. The view of the industrial waterfront to the west is not the prettiest, but it only takes up a fraction of your view of the lake.
What surprised me is just how many people want to go to Long Branch and New Toronto. I see a lot of what I call downtown expats, those folks who would rather have a house or townhouse than a tiny condo right downtown, but who still want to live in the city limits. The restaurant scene will not be as thrilling as other neighbourhoods, but you still have a pretty good selection of cool, new businesses along Lake Shore including organic coffee, fancy burgers and amazing empanadas.
Long Branch still has a way to go before it becomes great though. It used to have a lot of industrial buildings and zoning. Most of that is gone now, but there is a lot to be built. The townhouses that are being built are pretty nice and you often get better features than downtown at a lower price. Unlike the giant condos at the eastern portion of Mimico, the new condo development in Long Branch seems to suit the scale of the neighbourhood. Watermark is a good example of this at Long Branch Ave and Lakeshore.
I’m not sure how long Long Branch and New Toronto will take to fully transform into some thing truly energetic. To many, it is just the end of the line for the Queen car. To those in the know, it’s much more.