The air smells like sand and sunshine. You can walk down the street at any time and find yourself admiring a perfect, aqueous vista. The waves hit the shore so rhythmically they would be soothing to even the most restless spirit. The stars shine brightly, casting delicate light onto the water and setting the liquid folds aglow. The people are more friendly, stopping to chat and mingle and most often offering, at the very least, a warm smile. There is a plethora of adorable dogs everywhere, playing and panting happily, dotting the landscape with fur and paws. Everything you will ever need is only a few blocks away, a pleasing walk, or ride (if you are inclined towards greater velocities) and, if you find yourself lacking, you need only hop on the streetcar and be off to the wilds of downtown. There is a vast array of restaurants to choose from, sushi to subway, pubs to fine dining and there is no shortage of cultural activities. So what is this place of magic and wonder, of serenity and happiness? Some call it ‘The Beach’ but my husband and I call it ‘The Bubble’ (or ‘The Beaches’ because I’m old school).
The term ‘The Bubble’ comes from the feeling we get whenever we cross Woodbine St. heading east along Queen. It is a deep sense of relaxation and peace that passes through us, we are home. This feeling, we have deduced, is inspired by the unmistakable small town feel that Queen St. East emanates, despite its rather close proximity to the downtown core. And although it has always been an attractive and popular area, we often find ourselves shocked that none of the people we know have ever visited or considered the possibility of moving here. Everyone we have ever spoken to on the subject has believed it too far removed from the city, or too expensive and we couldn’t disagree more. We have lived all over the city (moving four times in the last three years alone), from downtown to uptown, west to east and we have never been happier, more connected to the city and living cheaper than here in The Beaches. Having grown up in the area I have always known about it’s charm (except in my wacky teenage years when I was aching to get out of Canada altogether) but my husband is new to it all and still, he adores it completely. He harkens back to the desolate lands of Etobicoke and both of us heartily agree that it has nothing on our bubble.
There is a 24 hour streetcar stop right outside our door that can take us all the way across the city if we please and a bike path that does the same (in a more scenic manner). For those car traveling folk, we have direct access to the QEW that will take you anywhere your heart desires with the rev of an engine. We have two sushi bars, a grocery store and a solar powered laundromat right across the street with an online camera system that let’s you see how many people are washing before you make the trek. We have cheap rent ($775 for a big bachelor in a beautiful antique building) and we can spot the glimmering beach the second we step out our front door. Best of all, two weeks ago we got to sit at our window, eating lunch and watching the Easter Parade (we had prime seating for heckling Rob Ford) and we suspect there will be a band right below us come Jazz Festival time. Remote? Expensive? Only if you are short on tokens or want to buy a house. Our little slice of paradise is perfect and we couldn’t ask for more. The Beach, The Beaches, The Bubble, whatever you want to call it, is misunderstood. It’s not just for the rich and their million dollar mansions. We are far from wealthy (small business owners all the way) but we are positively happy in our awesome neighbourhood!
(Discussion submitted as an entry to the ‘Free Rent’ contest!)