Parks & Trails

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 quiet 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. Find info on photo permits.

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.

There is no access to Lake Ontario.

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.


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