During a recent historic walk with Gene Domagala he took me into the local Scotia Bank office near Victoria Park Avenue and Kingston to show me some historical photos of this neighbourhood. While there he introduced me to Carolyn Pitre, the manager of the branch who has been a frequent supporter of Centre 55, its festivals and charitable activities.
Many people view Queen Street East from Woodbine to Victoria Park as the main stretch of the Beach, the Beach neighbourhood certainly extends farther north than that. Gerrard Street has become the centre of the “Upper Beach” and some people would go as far as to say that even the eastern end of Danforth Avenue could still be considered part of the wider Beaches neighbourhood. Kingston Road without a doubt has always been part of the Beach, and here is Carolyn Pitre to give us more information about this unique neighbourhood.
Carolyn Pitre showing off 80 years of history at Kingston Road & Bingham
1. Please tell us a bit about yourself. What connection do you have to the Beach? What is your role with the Kingston Road Business Community?
I have been the branch manager of Scotiabank Kingston & Bingham branch since April of 2005, and I have had family living in the beach for the past 18 years. Often I am in the Beach, on the weekends, walking on the Boardwalk, shopping, visiting family, etc. I have been involved with the Kingston Road Business Community since November of 2005. I go to their meetings, help organize events and involve my branch in the events.
2. What is the mandate of the Kingston Road Business Community? What areas does it cover? How is this organization funded?
The KRBC’s mandate is to promote the businesses in the area by organizing events to draw people into the area. Our business members span along Kingston Road from Fallingbrook to approximately Beech Avenue. The residents span from Warden Road to Main Street, and Gerrard to Queen Streets. The Kingston Road Business Community is self-funded through collections from our members.
Carolyn with Gene Domagala and Hong Zhao from the Beaches Living Guide
3. Please give us some general information about the Kingston Road area, its demographics, its residential architecture and other unique features. What makes this a special neighbourhood?
From my observations/experience, this area appears to be made up of many young families and also many families/seniors that have lived in the area for many years. Compared to other areas I have worked in, this area has a very strong sense of community. Many people seem to have home-based businesses so they live and work here instead of commuting out of the area everyday.
4. There is a lot of new real estate development going on and the entire area seems to be revitalizing. Please comment on that.
I believe that this is because many of the seniors are selling homes and moving into condos while young families are moving into the area. Also, some of the industrial locations have now become new housing developments that are bringing more people into the area.
Businesses along Kingston Road, this building is a former movie theatre