Fragile Cliffs and A Park of Ruins
There’s a stretch of coastline along Lake Ontario that is home to fragile cliffs and a park full of ruins of Toronto’s past. And as a confessed nature addict it both moves me and breaks my heart.
Just east of Toronto there’s a 15 kilometre stretch of escarpment called the Scarborough Bluffs. With sandstone cliffs rising, up to 300 feet, above Lake Ontario the Scarborough Bluffs is a top stop to experience Ontario nature. The escarpment is a part of the old Glacial Lake Iroquois shoreline that was formed after the last ice age.
The stretch of escarpment is home to 11 parks, many sitting atop the cliffs and one at its base. There are many trails in the area, making for spectacular views out over Lake Ontario and catching sight of the area’s distinct formations. But sadly, many of the trails are deemed unsafe and closed off.
The Scarborough Bluffs has become incredibly fragile as of late. While the existing formations stretching out of the cliffs have continued to shrink over time due to consistent erosion, this year has been wicked. With an above average rainfall this spring and numerous landslides, the Scarborough Bluffs are in an absolute delicate state. CBC even reported that there have been over 70 landslides in the first half of 2017.
What will be the fate of the Scarborough Bluffs? I don’t know. Only time will tell. But they’ve already changed dramatically. And while I urge you to see them before they’re too altered, I also do not condone trespassing on the closed trails at the cliff’s edge.
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There is still a way to see them without causing harm to the Bluffs and to yourself. Head to Bluffers Park. The park offers beach access, charming winding paths along the shore, and fabulous views of the Bluffs as they tower above you. This is one of the few parks along the bluffs where you pay to park. While there’s metered parking is cheap, for city standards.
Parks Along the Bluffs to Visit
Cathedral Bluffs Park
Rosetta McClain Gardens
Grey Abbey Park
Guild Park & Gardens
One of the must visit parks along the Bluffs escarpment is Guild Park and Gardens. Covering over 80 acres, Guild Park was once an artist’s colony. And the flair for the creative still lingers.
The Park is home to various trails, including a waterfront trail. And there’s a charming trail through the gardens. Visiting in the heart of summer means flowers are all a bloom and butterflies make for an enchanted experience.
The main attractions of Guild Park are remnants of over 60 historic buildings from Toronto and elsewhere in Ontario. The artist’s and original owners of the grounds wanted to save these buildings from rubble piles. They purchased them and brought them to the park, creating almost an open air museum of Toronto’s past architecture.
Some of the key pieces include; pieces from the Toronto Star Building (circa 1929-1972) put together to form what looks like a crown, the terracotta Gates from the Gibson House, part of the Canadian Bank of Commerce (circa 1899-1972), and many more! And there’s also the Osterhout Log Cabin. Built in 1795, the log cabin is the oldest building in Scarborough.
The Scarborough Bluffs was named one of 14 Surreal Places in Ontario. And once you see them for yourself you’ll understand why. Their majesty and frailness are awe-inspiring. But be sure to explore further along the escarpment for more beauty and hidden gems – like Guild Park and Gardens.
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