As a resident of Toronto, Canada, one of my favourite places to go to in the city during the spring through fall seasons in Ashbridges Bay. Also known as Woodbine Beach or "The Beaches" to local residents, this great beach is located just east of the downtown core. It's easily accessible by public transit by taking the Queen Street streetcar eastbound or taking a bus southbound from either Woodbine or Coxwell stations. There is plenty of parking located at the beach or you can find parking in the residential areas or city streets which are a few minutes walk away from the beach.

Although I have never swam in Lake Ontario at Ashbridges Bay, the Ontario Ministry of Health approved the beach as acceptable for swimming a few years ago after some cleanup initiatives and rerouting of sewage treatment took place. The beach is also a great place to go and tan during the summer. You can refer to my article How to Get a Great, All-Natural Tan for my strategy on tanning in the city as well as during my southern destination vacations.

While there are many great activities you can do at The Beaches like jogging, biking or rollerblading along the trails, walking in the park or along the boardwalk, playing tennis at the courts or sitting on the patio of one of the local bars, by far my favourite activity to do there is beach volleyball. The bars in the area are actually quite limited to one on the west end of the boardwalk about 100 meters off of it and a private members bar right along the boardwalk at its eastern end as the city designed the beach for minimal business influence. At the eastern tip of the boardwalk there is a no-leash dog walking area as well as another gated one along the boardwalk close to the tennis courts.

Ashbridges Bay is one of the biggest secrets when it comes to great spots for beach volleyball. While Toronto is not often thought of as a place to go to for its beaches, I have yet to encounter another North American city with as large of an area dedicated to beach volleyball as Toronto. In the main volleyball area located on the western end of the boardwalk, there are over 100 nets available for play. During the summer, associations have rights to the nets granted to them by the city during the evenings after 5PM and on some weekends, but during weekdays and most weekends they are free for whoever wants to come and play and has the appropriate equipment.

If you are interested in playing beach volleyball during the summer at Ashbridges, it is very easy to get involved. You can refer to the website for information on how to sign up for next summer.