Contributed by ParkBlvdLinda, an ePodunk user.
February 28, 2008
Pluses: We love Long Branch, smack in the middle of two awesome lake ontario waterfront parks.... Sam Smith & Marie Curtis, with Len Ford right in the middle. Its literally a 13 minute GO train ride to Union station (and that's on the milk run!) The bike path east is unbroken except for a section that runs along the lakeshore through mimico... so if you feel like cycling 17kms to work & back, its one of the best commutes ever!
Minuses: Area is underserved with higher end retail & coffee shops, recognizing the influx over the last few years of new home proud property owners fleeing the insane bidding wars further east. These are choosy people. They WANT to spend money, but also NEED quality vendors.
Apartment complex on the site of the original hotel near the water attracts an unsavoury element. But the police patrol regularly, under pressure from the afore mentioned group of proud property owners. Unfortunately this complex may have set the tone for the area's retailers over the years.
A good place to... The waterfront path system through these parks are excellent for cycling, rollerblading, jogging, x country skiing.... used to be great early morning exercise boot camps in the summer.
We x country ski the paths all winter after a good snow dump. Although ungroomed, the winter waterfront scenery is glorious.
Marie Curtis gets the right winds for windsurfing and when the winds are right, becomes a mecca for windsurfers. A river runs through Marie Curtis, dividing the park in 2 (there's a pedestrian bridge). The park has boat launch ramps and many people find the river good for fishing. Sam Smith has a yacht club, Humber campus is nearby and there's cricket & rugby played. This park is naturalist oriented, with lots of wetlands and observation posts, so good to keep the dog on a leash unless you want him tearing off into a muddy swamp chasing a duck. Also, the dog catcher likes to wander through threatening off leash dogs with tickets. Its entertaining to avoid him.
Lake Shore "Avenues" project promises upgrades in infrastructure to recognize the special qualities of this area of town - and offers special incentives to shop keepers to upgrade their properties. Special development deals are going down, with quiet side deals being made to get condo developers to add to the area's infrastructure (much like the butterfly park & etc. further east in the Humber area). Opportunities abound for retailers who want to cut a deal for space in advance of inflated lease prices, and gain access to spendy inhabitants of the condos going up.