My Perfect Day in the East End: Community fun, great eats and gardens galore

Golden doodle Callie loves to play at the waterfront by the RC Harris Water Treatment Plant. Photo: Submitted.


I have lived in the east end for almost 20 years, including a couple of years on the Danforth, seven years in Leslieville and a decade in the Beach.

I love the Beach for its proximity to the city and pleasures of lakeside living but also the small-town feel and close-knit community.

Eat, play, love

My perfect day in the east end would literally be a walk in the park(s). I’d start by taking the waterfront trail to the Kew Gardens Tennis Club (77 Kew Beach Ave.). It’s where my husband and I enjoyed one of our first dates and it’s always a great time. The cool lake breeze that blows over the courts is priceless.

I’d then have breakfast at ViVetha Bistro (2485 Queen St. E.). You can’t go wrong with their omelet, eggs benny, or wild mushroom salad – nutritious and delicious. And since it’s a perfect day we’re also having a mimosa.

Next it’s off to the palatial RC Harris Water Treatment Plant (2701 Queen St. E.). Our golden doodle loves the off-leash areas by the waterfront, and I love the architecture of this beautiful building with its cinematic views at the top of the hill.

For lunch, I like to say “yes” to No Bull Burgers (1019 Kingston Road). While my family enjoys the cheeseburgers, I prefer the quinoa option. However, we can all agree on the flavourful poutine and amazing milkshakes.

To do and to buy

Depending on the time of year, we’ll sink our toes in the sand at beach volleyball, play shinny at Ted Reeve Arena (175 Main Street) or I’ll challenge myself to a boot camp class with the bodacious Claire Boxall at Bob Acton Park (45 William Hancox Ave.) Of course, I’d be remiss not to mention the parades, street parties, art shows and the jazz fests that make our neighbourhood so unique and enjoyable throughout the year.

When it comes to shopping, nothing’s better than a bouquet from Flower Centre (1012 Kingston Rd.) with its beautiful selection of quality florals and plants, and artistic arrangements at reasonable prices. The Sweetest Things Gift Shop (959 Kingston Rd.) features fair trade treasures and a variety of classic treats while Trinity Gallery (920 Kingston Rd.) often has something fashionable and fun. A manicure and pedicure from Glitter Spa (942 Kingston Rd.) leaves me feeling pampered from head to toe. And when it comes to cool finds for the kids, I’m consistently impressed with the merchandise at Pro League Sports Collectibles (1957 Queen St. E.).

Dinner and drinks

For dinner, we’re spoiled with the selection on Queen Street East and Kingston Road. But if it’s patio weather we’re a hop, skip and a jump from The Loop (971 Kingston Rd.), where I’m inclined to order one of their Mediterranean inspired dishes and a glass of sangria. If we’re taking out, we go for the delicious lasagna and antipasto from Tony and Claudia’s Fallingbrook Market & Café (158 Fallingbrook Rd.) or the artisanal fare and freshly baked goodies from Courage Foods (946 Kingston Rd.).

For drinks, my favourite pub is the Green Dragon (1032 Kingston Rd.). It’s a cozy and welcoming watering hole where we’ve had so many fantastic times with family and friends. The perfect ending to a perfect day.

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