Long Branch Real Estate and Neighbourhood:
Long Branch was first home to Queen's Rangers Colonel and Loyalist, Sam Smith, one of the earliest settlers in Etobicoke and he built a regency-style cottage at the corner of 41st Street and Lakeshore Boulevard, now the site of Parkview Public School. Smith's tract of land comprised of five hundred acres and stretched across the entire area of what is now the neighbourhood of Long Branch. His children retained possession of the land after his passing in 1826 and it was sold to James Eastwood in 1871; Eastwood then timbered the forest on the land, selling the wood for a tidy profit and soon sold the eastern portion to developers who built Long Branch Park, a summer resort which was an early incarnation of 'cottage country'. Vacationers flocked to the fancy summer homes, grand hotel and boardwalk along the lake and there was a carousel and amusements rides as well, although most of the cottagers have moved on, the picturesque charm of the neighbourhood is as strong as ever, all just a 40 minute streetcar ride away from downtown.
Although the area got its start as a summer town with a seasonal population, Lakeshore Boulevard West is where most of the neighbourhood is centred on and it was originally developed as a commercial strip in the 1930's with an industrial section that was added during the Second World War. The area is in transition with plans to change its character from a low-density industrial-commercial corridor to high-density residential use that includes some commercial space. The most common home style in the area is a detached bungalow and they are usually around 1000-square feet, but there are a variety of styles from multi-storey tower apartment buildings, and for those on the grander end of the scale: seven-figure waterfront that would not have looked out of place in the area's thriving early days.
At the mouth of Etobicoke Creek, Marie Curtis Park has a beach with picnic areas as well as a children's playground and wading pool; its where the Toronto Waterfront Trail and the Etobicoke Creek Trail connect. It also passes through Colonel Samuel Smith Park which is a newly established wetland habitat trail with beautiful views of the Lake. Birch Park is at the bottom of Lakeshore Boulevard between 28th and 29th street and it has two tennis courts and a children's playground with Long Branch Centennial Arena just next door, all skating needs are taken care of. Youth dances and a whole host of family and children's events take place at The James S. Bell Community School.
The junior schools that serve the area are Twentieth Street, Sir Adam Beck, James S. Bell, Lanor and Seventh Street. St. Teresa, Christ the King and St. Ambrose are catholic schools. The cottagers vacated the area but slowly there has been an influx of interest in the neighbourhood of Long Branch due to its picturesque and beautiful lake-front location that offers views and scenery that very few areas in the city can claim.