Friday, October 24, 2014

Nathalie's walk around the Beach Studio Tour Fall 2014

The best excuse for an urban walk 
(I have updated my post from last October 2013 to reflect the Fall Studio Tour 2014.)
A few years ago, I did the Beach Studio Tour with a couple of girlfriends, armed with a self-guided tour map. We had a wonderful time! 

We didn't know what to expect. Would it be awkward to visit artists' private houses without buying anything? Would there be art within our budget? One thing for sure, going with a few girlfriends gave us all the courage to find out.

What's the verdict? The participating artists do everything in their power to make us feel at ease. Many join other fellow artists under a same roof to create more ambiance. Some even offer a little bite to welcome the visitors. All simply love to talk about their art and they understand the value of getting us better acquainted with their work even if we don't buy right away. (Click here to print the Beach Studio Tour's map.)

Beach Studio Tour 2010
Studio Tour Fall 2014
The Beach Studio Tour is a free cultural tradition currently in its 21st year.  The locations change every year, which allows us to discover different streets of The Beach neighbourhood. 

For Fall 2014, the tour takes place from October 24 to 26 (Friday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.). It includes 13 locations where we can admire the artwork from local 22 artists (you may check their map at the bottom of the Studio Guide section on They're too dispersed to be seen all in a single walk (unless you're a keener!) so many will want to do part of the tour by car. 

To those who would like to kill two birds with one stone, combining art and exercice, I present a cool route, based on my research when working on the walking guides (for The Beach Quaint Stroll, Stroll 25 in Toronto Urban Strolls 1, and The Beach Soothing Stroll and Upper Beaches Steep Hill Stroll, respectively Strolls 12 and 24 in Toronto Urban Strolls 2.). It is approximately 5.5 km long (which takes around 1 hour 30 to walk). 

"On parle français" at A!
I recommend you start your walk at point A on my map, just north of Kingston Road (395 Scarborough Road, #12 on official Tour map). You will easily find street parking in the area and you will get a chance to meet the charming painter  Nathalie Vachon whom we met four years ago when we first did the tour (she speaks French). She's teaming with jeweller Sandra Greenwood.

Kingswood Road 
Going north from A, turn right on Swanwick Avenue and left to 456 Kingswood Road to point B (#11 on official map) to see the work of glass artist Barb Ringer.

I still haven't had the chance to visit the café which opened last year, the Madhus Café on 982 Kingston Road (just west of Kingswood), but it seems like a good stop before continuying.

Walk further south on Kingston to C (#8 on official map), where is exhibited the artwork of painter Roderick Mayne (89 Kingswood) and the ceramic work of Zsuzsa Monostory.

Lovely dead-end street 
Go southbound on Kingswood to Queen Street, then turn left (eastbound) to reach Neville Park Blvd. (one of the prettiest streets in the neighbourhood). Walk to the end of the dead-end to admire the properties on top of the sloped front yards. Elizabeth Berry is a water colour artist located at point D (133 Neville Park, #9 on the official map). 

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Back on Queen, turn right (westbound). You might be tempted by the scrumptious cupcakes of Life is Sweet (2328 Queen East). Note that a bit further west, at the corner of Beech and Queen, you will find more to tease you: the savoury salty muffins at Remarkable Bean (2242 Queen E.), artisanal (and affordable) chocolate at Wickerhead (2375 Queen E.) or hand-made gelato at Ed’s (2224 Queen E.).

Beach sight 
You can access the beach at the foot of Beech Avenue. Walk left on the boardwalks and past the end of the boardwalk, you'll have a chance to see some great beach front houses. I was there a few days before the Fall Studio Tour (see the photos at the end of this post).

Back to the tour, turn west on Fir at the corner Beech and Fir Avenues. Looks like a small village, doesn't it? Dianne Selton awaits on this street at point E (17 Fernwood Park Avenue, #7 on official map), with ceramic artist Karen Franzen.

Ravine sight after one last stop
Walk northbound on Fernwood, turn left on Hazel, then right on Balsam Avenue. Note that bit further west of Balsam on 2188 Queen East, there's the really cute café Tori's Bakeshop where you might want to rest before reaching the last stop of my walk. 

At point F (92 Balsam Ave., #6 on official map), you will find the photographer John Dowing and the hand-woven designs of Lucille Crighton.

Glen Stewart Ravine at The Beach
For the big finish, keep going northbound on Balsam. You will be able to access Glen Stewart Ravine from a little path hidden between two private houses (across from the school). It leads to the spectacular staircase recently built to enhance this ravine. It offers the best view in the whole park. At the foot the the stairs, turn right and you'll forget you're in the middle of the big city. At the fork, keep your right. The stairs will lead you to Beech Avenue, which meets Kingston Road further north. 
To reach your starting point, turn right on Kingston (eastbound) and go north on Scarborough Road. I suggest you then take your car to continue the tour. There are still 12 artists to see! (Click here to print the Beach Studio Tour's map.)
Beach Studio Tour 2010

Beach Studio Tour 2010

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