Featured Parks

Scarborough Bluffs

Marina filled with boats

Bluffs stretch for about 15 km along the Lake Ontario shore, from the Eastern Beaches of Toronto in the west, to East Point Park in the east. The Scarborough Bluffs are a significant geological feature resulting from the accumulation of sedimentary deposits over 12,000 years ago. They were formed by the natural processes of wind and water erosion from Lake Ontario.

These parks feature: Spectacular views of the bluffs and Lake Ontario, trails,beaches,gardens, sports and recreation facilities and amenities    

Cliff Danger Warning SymbolSeveral City of Toronto parks provide magnificent views of the bluffs and Lake Ontario, but the edge of the bluffs is unstable. To view the bluffs safely, stay behind the fences and use your common sense. Do not approach the edge of the bluffs.

Rosetta McClain Gardens

Rosetta McClain Gardens Photo GalleryThis fully-accessible, 7.5 hectare, garden park at the top of the Scarborough Bluffs was designed to invigorate the senses as well as offer a spectacular view of Lake Ontario. You can hear the water gushing from a central water fountain into a sloped splash basin inviting you to touch the water cascading down the granite rock. A pathway lined with bright flowers leads through an herb garden, scented garden and a rose garden-- all highly fragrant to exhilarate your sense of smell. There is a perennial garden, a limestone rockery bursting with begonias, geraniums and cardoons and raised planters that are wheelchair height. The garden also has a special Braille signage system.

Rosetta McClain Gardens is a great place for a quite moment, inspired by nature and a haven for flower connoisseurs, bird and butterfly watchers. It is also renowned as a spot for wedding photographs. Many a bride has posed with the mature trees and the incredible view. For info on photo permits click here.

Trails within the park take you alongside the bluff, offering wonderful views of the lakeshore and lake. You might catch sight of cliff swallows and raptors that inhabit the bluff and various watercraft on the lake. On a clear day you can see buildings and smoke stacks across the lake.

How to get there:

The Rosetta McClain Gardens are located on Kingston Road between Lakehurst Crescent and Glen Everest Drive. Vehicles can enter the Rosetta McClain Gardens from Kingston Road at Glen Everest Road. By public transit, take the Kingston Road number 12 bus from the Victoria Park or Kennedy station. From Victoria Park, exit the bus at the Glen Everest stop. From, Kennedy exit the bus at Birchmount and Kingston Road.

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History

Thomas McDonald West, owner and operator of J. & J. Taylor Limited, Toronto Safe Works purchased the 16.2 hectare Rumph farm overlooking the Scarborough Bluffs in 1904-1905. He and his wife, Emma, then divided it among their four children, Joseph McDonald, William Needham, Howard Thomas, and Rosetta. Many of the historic landscape improvements enjoyed today were initially undertaken by Rosetta's husband, Robert Watson McClain, and her brother Joseph McDonald.

Rosetta McClain died in December 1940 and in 1959 her husband donated their property (about 4 hectares) to the city of Toronto in her memory. In 1977, this land was conveyed to the Metropolitan Toronto and Region Conservation Authority and combined with portions of the J.M. and H.T. West properties. A further parcel from the W.N. West holdings was added in 1985, creating a 7.5 hectare park. The shell of an old pine house reminds park visitors that people once farmed this property with the spectacular view of the Scarborough Bluffs.

Scarborough Heights Park

Scarborough Heights Park Photo galleryScarborough Heights Park is a community park with a large community garden on the west side. Local residents gather here to walk their dogs and bring their families, particularly in the evenings. The park offers a large, fenced, dogs-off-leash area, adjacent to the pumping station at Fishleigh Dr. Lake Ontario breezes come through the gaps in vegetation, but views of the lake are harder to see through the dense vegetation that grows along the bluff in this area. A few pathways approach the eroding edge beyond the safety fences, but the pathways are treacherous because the bluff edge is undercut and there is a steep drop. Staying behind the fence is strongly advised.

At the west edge of this park is a service road that connects to Fishleigh Drive. This road can be used as a pathway to the shoreline trails. Give yourself at least 20 minutes to get down and back, or longer if you want to walk along the shoreline to see the views at the base of Scarborough Bluffs Park, or to enjoy the beaches below Rosetta McClain Park. Spending the day on the sand and stone beaches, away from the city traffic and built landscapes can be a magical experience.

The slopes do continue to erode and occasionally trees will tumble to the shoreline particularly in the older areas of shoreline protection to the west of the Scarborough Heights Park service road. Be prepared to find the odd tree across your path. This is still an area of eroding bluffs particularly in the freeze-thaw cycle during the winter and spring.

How to get there:

Vehicles can enter Scarborough Heights Park from, south of Kingston Road. By TTC the Kingston Road #12 bus stop is only a five minute walk from the park.

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History

The magnificent view of the bluffs from Scarborough Heights Park is the reason this significant geological feature is called the Scarborough Bluffs. When Elizabeth Simcoe, the wife of Upper Canada's first Lieutenant-Governor, saw the beautifully carved sandstone cliffs in 1793, she considered building a summer residence on top and naming it Scarborough for the Yorkshire town of Scarborough, in England, that is also known for its cliffs. In the same year, Lieutenant-Governor Simcoe renamed the township Scarborough, as tribute to the Duke of York. When the township was originally surveyed in 1791 by Augustus Jones, it was called Glasgow.

In 1920, the Scarborough Water Works System was constructed here. As Scarborough grew in population, the capacity of the filtration plant and pumping station were expanded; by 1952, the filtration plant processed 14.0 million gallons of water per day. Today, only the pumping station and the reservoir are still in use.

In May 1960, the Borough of Scarborough transferred its Scarborough Bluff holdings to the Metropolitan Toronto and Region Conservation Authority. Various parcels of land were combined as part of the Waterfront Plan, a program designed to promote public ownership along the bluffs as a means of curtailing further erosion.

Scarborough Bluffs Park

Scarborough Bluffs Park CliffsScarborough Bluffs Park offers dramatic views of Lake Ontario and the eroding sand cliffs that form the Scarborough Bluffs. The park is so high above the water that it also offers stunning views of sunrises, sunsets, moon rises and shooting stars, making this a popular evening destination on warm summer evenings. Bluffers Park Marina and the pond in Bluffers Park can also be seen from this vantage point.

Local residents enjoy the park for dog walking, soccer, Frisbee, tennis and its playground. Benches, located close to the fenced edge of the park, provide park users with a place to sit and enjoy the view of Lake Ontario.

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Bluffer's Park

Arial photo of Bluffer's Park and MarinaBluffer's Park has two sections: an upper meadow and a waterfront park. The waterfront part of the park was designed to improve public access to the base of the Scarborough Bluffs. It can be accessed by Brimley Road, one of the few streets where a descent to Lake Ontario is possible.

Bluffers Park (waterfront) features: a sandy beach, picnic areas, walks, lookouts, a double launching ramp and visitors dockage. Part of the park provides secure berths for over 500 boats. The berths are operated by the Bluffers Park Boating Federation. On top of the bluffs, a large meadow offers an excellent view of the sandstone cliffs and the lower section of the park. It is also an excellent place to spot songbirds and Monarch butterflies during the spring and fall migration.

Recreation features

Boating, picnicking, sailing, swimming, scenic trails, and volleyball court.

How to get there

Bluffer's Park is located at 1 Brimley Road South. Vehicles can enter Bluffer’s Park by travelling south on Brimley Road to its end point. This part of the park can be accessed via two public transportation routes. From Kennedy Station you can get on the southwest side of the meadow by taking the Kingston Road Bus #12A eastbound via Brimley Road and Variety Village and getting off at Chine Drive, Stop 4215. Walk south towards the lake for about eight minutes.

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History

Originally owned by the Borough of Scarborough, the mainland at the base of the bluffs was transferred to the Metropolitan Toronto and Region Conservation Authority in May 1960 as part of the Waterfront Plan for Metro. The park was developed in two stages by the Authority. The first phase that satisfied a need for public open space, was officially completed and opened in 1975 at a cost of $2.2 million. Phase two, developed for $6.0 million and completed in the early 1980's, provided public launching facilities for recreational boaters and sailors, as well as open space for private yacht clubs. A total of 2.6 million cubic metres of lakefill was used at Bluffer's Park.

Cathedral Bluffs Park

Cathedral Bluffs Park FieldCathedral Bluffs is a 9.466 hectare waterfront park that offers spectacular views of the bluffs. The tall spires of the eroded sandstone cliffs rise more than 90 metres above Lake Ontario. This is one of the highest points along the bluffs, a result of the coincidence of the Lake Ontario and glacial Lake Iroquois shorelines.

Swim beach located at the base of the sandstone cliffs can be accessed via Brimley Road through Bluffers Park.

Recreation facilities

Playground

How to get there

Cathedral Bluffs Park can be reached by vehicle south from Kingston Road on Cathedral Bluffs Drive. Via public transit, from Victoria Park Station, take the Kingston Road #12 bus to St. Clair and Barkdene Hills. Get off at the Brooklawn Avenue and Barkdene Hills, Stop #3377. Walk east along Broadmead Avenue to Cathedral Bluffs Park. It is about a 5 minute walk.

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History

At one time, much of the parkland belonged to the Sisters of St. Joseph, whose property extended from Kingston Road to the lake. Much of the property was sold to Dolphin Developments who planned to develop a residential neighbourhood on the property. Permission for building the subdivision was granted on the condition that the southern section be turned into a park. Ownership of that land was transferred to the municipality of Metropolitan Toronto in January 1960.

Cudia Park

Cudia Park CliffsCudia Park is located at the point where the current Lake Ontario Shoreline meets the historic Lake Iroquois shoreline which creates the highest elevation. It has footpaths through planted forests and offers a number of viewpoints for the lake. The paths are not located at the top of the bluff. Cudia Park can also be viewed from the shoreline at Bluffers Park.

How to get there

Cars can enter Cudia Park from Meadowcliffe Drive where there is a small parking lot. If driving to the park, exit off Kingston Road at Pine Ridge Drive. When Pine Ridge drive splits take the right-hand road which is Meadowcliff Drive. If travelling by transit, take the Markham Road Bus #102 or the Kingston Road East Bus #12 to Brooklawn Avenue. Walk south on Brooklawn to Stoley Road, east on Sotley Road to Scarborough Heights Blvd, north on Scarborough Heights Blvd. to Ayre Point Road and continue to the end of the road to the park. It is a 15 or 20 minute walk to the park.

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History

Cudia Park was acquired by the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) in 1960 from the Borough of Scarborough so that there could be a continuous strip of Parkland along the Scarborough Bluffs. Th park was named for the Cudia family who were long-time residents of the area.

Sylvan Park and Gates Gully

Sylvan Park and Gates Gully Beach ViewSylvan Park offers a small area of cut grass and benches for park users to enjoy the view of Lake Ontario from the height of land.

You can get to the waterfront from the Doris McCarthy Trail, which is accessed from Ravine Dr., south of Kingston Rd. Toronto and Region Conservation (TRCA) is completing remedial erosion control works along a portion of the Scarborough Bluffs in this area. The TRCA continues its commitment to allowing public access to the shoreline service road for recreational purposes on public holidays, weekday evenings (between 5:00 pm and 7:30 am) and weekends (from 4:30 pm on Friday to 7:30 am on Monday). In the interests of public safety, access along the main entrance road, off of Guildwood Parkway and westerly along the base of the bluffs will be restricted to construction staff and equipment, during hours of work.

How to get there

Sylvan Park can be reached by TTC from Warden Station. Take the Markham Bus #102D to the intersection of Kingston and Markham Roads, Stop 5567. The 2.1 km walk to the park from here will take about 25 minutes. Walk south on Markham Road towards Service Road. Turn left onto Service; right onto Duncombe Boulevard; left onto Hill Crescent; right onto Heathfield Drive and right onto Sylvan Avenue.

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History

Sylvan Park was named after the nearby Sylvan Avenue. In Roman mythology, Sylvanus was a woodland deity and Sylvan refers to the wooded rural character of the area. An earlier name for the park was the Cherry Orchard. It was purchased from private owners in 1966 by Metropolitan Toronto, the regional government at the time. Later it was transferred to the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority. The land was acquired to curtail further erosion and to prevent possible development of housing on the site.

The western boundary of Sylvan Park is close to Bellamy Creek where it cuts thorough the Scarbough Bluffs to Lake Ontario. The ravine surrounding Bellany Creek known as the Bellamy Ravine is also known as Gates Gulley, after a well-known pioneer, Johnathan Gates who settled in the area in 1815. Gates later operated the Scarboro Inn, also known as Gates Tavern, on Kingston Road, just east of Bellamy Road.

More recently, the trail through Gates Gulley was named after the well-known Canadian artist Doris McCarthy, who lived at the end of Meadowcliffe Road and owned a portion of the Bellamy Ravine. Doris McCarthy, best known for her landscape paintings, lived on the picturesque 12-acre property from 1939 to her death in 2010. She referred to her home as "Fools Paradise" and she donated it to the Ontario Heritage Trust in 1998, hoping that other artists would use the lands on the Scarborough Bluff to inspire art after her death. She donated the lands in the ravine to the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority for conservation and access purposes. A sculpture is located at the point where the Doris McCarthy Trail meets the lakeshore.

Guild Park and Gardens

Guild Park archway in the sculpture gardenThis scenic and historic park, formerly known as Guildwood Park, is a sculptural sanctuary and has beautiful gardens. It also has an interesting history that reflects famous artists, powerful political figures and contributions made to the art community. Although the park is not open for wedding ceremonies, wedding photography permits are allowed.

The Guild Inn was built in 1914 as a white stucco, arts and crafts style mansion originally surrounded by over 400 acres of gardens and woodlands. The residence was built for Colonel Harold C. Bickford, a decorated war hero. When Rosa Breithaupt Hewetson purchased the property in 1932, shortly before her marriage to Spencer Clark, the socially conscious couple decided to model their new property into the Canadian equivalent of Roycroft in East Aurora, New York, considered to be the centre of the Arts and Craft movement at the time. The site provided a home and a forum for artists and artisans, where their work was created and collected for the enjoyment of many. Many of the artists were contemporaries or students of members of the Group of Seven, and the influence can be seen in the work they produced.

During the Second World War, the Canadian Government requisitioned the property and turned it into a training base for the Women's Royal Naval Service (WRENS). The hotel also served as a military hospital for victims of shellshock, with the craft facilities providing therapeutic rehabilitation for the service personnel undergoing treatment there.

The Clarks returned to the property in 1947. For the next 35 years, the Clarks built a reputation as patrons of the arts and preservationists, amassing a huge art collection and preserving architectural fragments from dozens of demolished buildings. The property and the architectural fragments were sold to the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority in 1978 to be maintained as a public park. Spencer Clark continued to run the hotel until 1983, when a Board of Management was formed to oversee operations. At the time of the City's amalgamation, the Board was disbanded and the City’s Economic Development and Culture Division took over responsibility for the sculpture and architectural fragments, while the Parks, Forestry and Recreation Division began to manage the surrounding parkland. The hotel continued to operate under contract management until it closed in 2002 when it was considered no longer viable without a major capital infusion.

It is the City of Toronto’s vision that through a private/public partnership, the site can be redeveloped and the arts activity can once again flourish.

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East Point Park

East Point Park photo galleryEast Point Park, one of Toronto's largest waterfront parks, near the mouth of the Highland Creek, offers an excellent opportunity for hiking and nature study. In the fall, it is a migratory staging area for monarch butterflies. It is also a migratory staging area for over 178 species of birds that use the wide range of habitats at the site.

The park is an ecological gem due to its proximity to Lake Ontario and a moderate climate. East Point Park features meadow, bluff, beach, shrub thicket, forest and wetland--all with a diversity of plant life due to the imperfectly drained, fertile top soil on the glacial deposits which form the Scarborough Bluffs.

Recreation facilities

Two level fully-accessible softball centre pavilion, washrooms, showers, change-rooms, umpire room, indoor lounge, outdoor patio, and snack bar

How to get there

East Point Park is located on Copperfield Road between Manse Road and Beechgrove Drive with the F. J. Horgan Filtration Plant to the west and to the east the Highland Creek Sewage Plant.

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