Two more neighbourhoods battle it out to win the title of Curbed Cup Neighbourhood of the Year Award. Last week, you voted and High Park won against the pasta and gelato of Little Italy. Similarly, the Beach (or Beach Village) beat out the luxury neighbourhood of Yorkville with its Queen Street shops and waterfront view. Who will be crowned today's best neighbourhood—the Beach or High Park? You decide.
High Park: Between the 400-acre urban forest at their doorstep and the shops of Bloor West Village (to the west) and Roncy (to the east), High-Parkers are spoiled for leisure-time choice. The unforgettable sakura blossom show every spring draws thousands to High Park; so do the numerous sledding hills in winter. Housing is primarily large old-stock homes in the million-dollar-plus range, some midcentury high-rise apartment buildings, and new developments like the High Park Condos.
The Beach: The easternmost end of Queen Street is where you'll find blocks and blocks of quaint shops selling suncatchers and devilsticks, health food, and running gear. The long-running Beaches Jazz Festival is here, with events running in beautiful Kew Gardens and Woodbine Park. 2013 saw some interesting openings like the acclaimed Mexican newcomer Xola, and Bagels on Fire, said to be the best place in the city for authentic Montreal-style bagels. There are plenty of pubs catering to beachgoing day-trippers, but lots of family-style restaurants to park your Bugaboo outside too. But the area's not without its share of neighbourly friction; vegan bakery Tori's Bakeshop's license application to become a biodynamic wine bar at night was strongly opposed by a neighbour across the street (the application was approved). There was also pushback from longtimers against the Lakehouse Beach Residences, a 28-unit midrise condo development at Queen and Kenilworth, formerly the site of the Lick's Homeburgers flagship. The developers won, and demolition of the old Lick's building began in November.
· Curbed Cup 2013 [Curbed Toronto]