Overview of Long Branch
Long Branch is a well-established neighbourhood located along the Toronto waterfront at the extreme south-west part of the city. This neighbourhood is in transition with many new home developments being built along Lakeshore Boulevard. This lakeside village is blessed with many fine attributes including picturesque waterfront parks, a local arena, a public library, a waterfront trail, a Go Transit station and a vibrant shopping district.
History of Long Branch
Long Branch was first settled in 1797 by Colonel Samuel Smit a loyalist officer with the Queens Rangers. Smith’s five hundred acre tract of land spanned the entire present day neighbourhood. Smith, who served two terms as administrator of Upper Canada, built a modest regency style cottage at the south-east corner of 41st Street and Lakeshore Boulevard where Parkview Public School is situated today. Smith passed away in 1826. His children retained possession of his estate until 1871 when it was sold to James Eastwood. The industrious Eastwood timbered the pine and oak forest that covered this land. He then rafted the logs from the mouth of the Etobicoke Creek to the Toronto Harbour where the lumber was sold for a tidy profit. In 1883, Eastwood sold the eastern sixty-four acres of his property to the developers who created Long Branch Park, a summer resort modelled after its namesake in New Jersey. Ferry boats ushered thousands of Toronto vacationers each year to Long Branch which boasted fanciful summer cottages, a grand hotel, a boardwalk and numerous amusement rides including a Coney Island Carousel. Long Branch became more accessible in 1916 when Lake Shore Boulevard was paved. This transportation corridor helped turn Long Branch into a year-round community. This neighbourhood was developed largely from the 1920’s up to the 1950’s.