This iconic beach is one in the record books. From 1922 to 1955 Sunnyside was the beach to go to. Old black and white photos recall concerts by Count Basie and Duke Ellington. The Toronto Railway Company used to send free streetcars to the city’s beaches. The Gardener Expressway cut the beach from the rest of the city so you have to cross the highway to get to the beach from Roncesvalles, Parkside, or Colbourne Lodge. Sunnyside is not immune to the beach’s sewage pollution and algae blooms; for decades the city’s under-equipped system would flush itself into lake Ontario and every time it rained the sewage would wash ashore.
But in the last 20 years, the beach has been ongoing a subtle makeover. In 1980 the bathing pavilion was renovated and in 2002, new storage tanks were built to help keep sewage off the beach. In 2006, Palais Royal re-opened its doors, instilling old glamour back into the beach.
The water is not the cleanest, but it passes water tests 75% of the time. But swimming is not the main reason to come to Sunnyside Beach. The boardwalk and waterfront trail are some of the best in the city. The vast beaches provide a great setting for sunrises and sunsets. The smooth water created by a protective breakwall attracts paddlers and rowers of all ages.
On the east side of Sunnyside beach is Budapest Park, in memory of the Hungarian uprising in 1956. The park adds even more grass and trees for parkgoers to enjoy. The Sunnyside Café offers refreshments and food, a perfect combination for the view you have over the water. There is a TTC bus, the 313 Jane, but the root changes regularly.