The end of summer in Toronto brings two things to mind: fresh peaches, & The Ex. But long before the CNE made amusement parks an end-of-summer tradition, there was Privat’s Pleasure Grounds.
The Peninsula Hotel was built in 1843 by Louis Privat & his brother, Louis Privat (seriously!), on what are now the Toronto Islands. At the time, they were still connected to the mainland. The Privat brothers gradually expanded the hotel grounds to include Toronto’s (& likely Canada’s) first amusement park, featuring swings, a hand-operated carousel, a small zoo & a bowling alley, all accessible via “The Peninsula Packet” — a ferry powered by five horses running on a circular treadmill. What may have added to its success, however, was that they served beer, even though it wasn’t necessarily legal to do so.
On April 13th, 1858, a violent storm washed away the hotel & the surrounding amusement area, turning the peninsula into an group of islands. The land was purchased by the city, whereupon it became the parkland it remains today.
This smoked peach ale, brewed with seared Niagara peaches, celebrates the dog days of summer & the lazy, lingering nights that come with it.