Wednesday, April 05, 2006

What's In A Name?

One of Toronto's few genuinely pleasant neighbourhoods is the area known as The Beach(es). A stroll along the lakeshore beach(es) or Queen Street East from Coxwell to the R.C. Harris Filtration Plant (who thought a sewage plant could be an architectural masterpiece?) will make you want to buy a house in The Beach(es, even though you can't possibly afford one, and the champagne socialists who can wouldn't want you there anyway.

The only problem with The Beach(es)is that no one can figure out what to call it, and people on both sides are as passionately committed to one name as the Slavs of the (Former Yugoslav Republic of) Macedonia and the Greeks on the other side:

Will it be The Beach or The Beaches?

The Beaches Business Improvement Area board has decided to put the question to a vote — all part of a plan to boost business and enhance the charm of Queen St. E.

But many residents of the area — from the east side of Coxwell Ave. to the west side of Fallingbrook Rd., and from the lake to the railway tracks — are taking the decision to heart.

"I want it called The Beach because my parents grew up here and they called it The Beach," said Dianne Howarth, 68, walking along Queen St. E. yesterday.

Others argue in favour of The Beaches because the area consists of four main beaches, including Woodbine Beach, Balmy Beach, Kew Beach and Scarboro Beach.

"The Beaches is all-encompassing," argued Kyle Birch, 33, a sales associate at Threads Lifestyle clothing store.

The debate in the community also plays out on storefronts, with some bearing the name "Beach," while others sport "Beaches."


The issue has been debated for years but was perhaps most intense in the mid-1980s.

At that time, a group of Queen St. merchants had signs erected designating the area as The Beaches. But some irate residents demanded the removal of the signs. They came down and the issue has been unresolved.

Whatever it's called, there will still be no finer place to enjoy a leisurely Saturday afternoon stroll than the The Beach(es).

Source: Toronto Star

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