The Leuty Lifeguard Station is located at the foot of Leuty Ave on Kew Beach, in The Beaches neighbourhood of Toronto.
Architecture of the Historic Station
The clapboard structure was designed by Chapman, Oxley & Bishop, the architecture firm that also designed Sunnyside Bathing Pavilion and the CNE’s Princes’ Gates. Originally called Scarboro Beach Station, the landmark building was raised above the water on piers. The sides facing east and west have large, irregularly spaced windows that give lifeguards unobstructed views of the beachfront. The south-facing side has paired single doors and two pairs of double doors that open onto a projecting deck. This design makes it quick to launch lifeboats. To help lifeguards observe the waterfront, a wooden lookout tower is on top of the bell-cast gable roof.
Keeping an Eye Over Kew Beach
For over 100 years, lifeguards have been watching over swimmers and boaters at Kew Beach. At one time, the beachfront was crowded with buildings, vendors and boats for hire. Due to erosion and to stabilize the beach, over time, most of the structures were taken down. In the 1990s, the Leuty Lifeguard Station began to deteriorate. To save it from demolition, the local community raised funds. The building received heritage status in 1993.
Leuty Lifeguard Station Celebrated its 100th Anniversary in 2020
Today, the station is still in active use. Lifeguards at the Leuty Lifeguard Station are credited with saving over 6,000 lives. It’s one of two remaining life-saving stations on Toronto’s lakefront, with the other one on Cherry Beach.