The Toronto weather bemuses us with bright sleazy sunshine one day to cold winds, sneaky ominous clouds and rain drops the next day. For someone from India it is double whammy but we buckle up our belts and do what the locals do… learn the art of dodging weather and stop cribbing.
So on a clear sunshiny day we are at Scarborough Bluffs, also known as The Bluffs, stretching along the eastern shores of Toronto’s Lake Ontario. The Bluffs or cliffs protrude nearly 300 ft above shoreline spanning a length of 15 kilometers.
The French referred to them as ‘ Les Grande Ecores’ or ‘tall points’ while the Brits had a more prosaic name the ‘High Lands’. In 1793 Elizabeth Simcoe, wife of first Lieutinent Governor of Upper Canada, re-named them as Scarborough Highlands as they reminded her of her home town Scarborough, North Yorkshire, UK. She wrote, “The shore is extremely bold and has the appearance of chalk cliffs, but I believe they are only white sand. They appeared so well that we talked of building a summer residence there and calling it Scarborough.” in 1796 the surrounding town was renamed Scarborough and the cliffs referred to as Bluffs.
Our Walk: Starting from the Marina and Boat Club, located on an island in the Bluffers Park basin with Cathedral Bluffs as backdrop, we cut across the parking lot towards the beach front. Unfortunately the waters are spilling over the shores and we stay along the boardwalk and the grass. The ducks and swans have the waters to themselves, though there were occasional speedboats.
Bluffer’s Beach (Bluffer’s Park) is probably the most beautiful beach in Toronto. The blue of Lake Ontario and the green landscaped parks compliment the towering white cliffs covering 20 kilometers of Toronto’s eastern waterfront and existing since 100,000 years. The ‘British seaside town’ ambiance is a magnet for construction and adventure and though constant erosion, flooding and footfalls is reducing the scalability of the Bluffs, it is still a popular picnic destination for surrounding neighborhoods. Certain areas of the beach are suitable for swimming.
It is said that if one put an ear against the side of Cathedral Bluffs, overlooking the Lake, one might even hear the sand shifting at the base. The best place to view the water and the bluffs is from Cathedral Bluffs Lookout.
Bluffers Park is crowded, there were others like us, families, friends, hikers swarming in any or every corner or open area they could find and more were coming. Long weekends must be nightmare for security personnel and traffic police as the entire area turns into a community meeting place for people of all ages.
It was watching a never ending newsreel of activities from wedding photo shoot to impromptu karaoke sessions, toddlers cooing in their mini tent cribs, a pageant of dogs, ducks and swans in conference and seniors like us content to watch or simply seeking serenity.
Parks: A number of city parks are located along the Bluffs stretching from Victoria Park Avenue to Rouge River. Most are located on the top the bluffs, but few are located at the base along the shoreline with Lake Ontario. Accidents are explained to selecting parks on top of the Bluffs and then attempting to reach the beach by scaling down the Bluffs. Bluffer’s Park, opened in 1975, is the only park along the Bluffs with direct access to the lake.
A place worth spending a day but with a rider….dont’t bamboozle nature