Closeness of Balmy Beach community is helping residents cope with COVID-19 impacts

Customers follow the social distancing rules as they wait to be let into the Dyson's Valu-mart at Queen Street East and Silver Birch Avenue on the weekend. Photo by Susan Legge.


John Cameron and his wife moved into the Beach community approximately four years ago. Both were attracted to the area’s small-town charm and feel that is usually hard to find in a big city. Of course, the waterfront and proximity to all their favourite shops, restaurants and amenities didn’t hurt either.

For Cameron, who is president of the Balmy Beach Residents’ Association, being an active member of the community was something important to both his parents, so it was inherent for him to be an integral part of his community as well.

“I lived in Leslieville for a few years, and while there, I enjoyed being involved in a number of Carlaw planning initiatives, so I thought I’d get involved when we moved here. We are always looking for volunteers and encourage all Balmy Beach residents to look us up on our Facebook page. Most people don’t know what residents’ associations do. We work to improve the quality of life in our neighbourhoods,” he said.

With the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, non-essential businesses in the neighbourhood have been ordered by the government to close to help reduce the spread of the virus.

Similar to other communities here and worldwide, Balmy Beach area residents have rallied together and remain optimistic during this period of community unease, confusion, and self-isolation.

“The closeness of the community is what is helping everyone cope as best they can. It’s the friendliness of neighbours, they want to support our local businesses… these are challenging times for everyone, but neighbours will talk from porch to porch while practising social distancing to show we are trying,” he said.

With new cases of the virus being reported on a daily basis, various measures and precautions have been put into place across Toronto in efforts to help stop the spread of the virus including the closures of schools, municipal parks’ amenities and recreation centres.

“Our local officials have done a good job listening to scientists and making the difficult but important decisions,” said Cameron.

“However, there is one key aspect that falls on Beach residents – follow the advice. If you’re to quarantine, quarantine. If you’re going for a walk, practice social distance. These are simple things, but for the most vulnerable in our neighbourhood it can mean life or death.”

According to the Health Canada the most effective way to stay healthy and stop the spread of COVID-19 virus is to reduce contact with others by following self-isolation, practising social distancing and conducting proper hygiene.

For further information on the community and updates on the how the community is dealing with the impacts of COVID-19,  please visit the Balmy Beach Residents Association at

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