Enjoy An Outing Bluffers Park On Lake Ontario
We visited Bluffers Park on Lake Ontario for the view of the stunning sand cliffs on the Scarborough Bluffs. But we found so much more to see and do! We hiked along the shore, took in the long sand beach and enjoyed the views along the waterfront.
As we explored close to home this year, we found many local gems. Being at home in the spring, we got our first view of cherry blossoms in High Park. When we hiked the Mono Cliffs Provincial Park, we got a close up view of the vast Niagara Escarpment. Both of us grew up in the Toronto area. But this was the first time we explored the escarpment at the Scarborough Bluffs.
It was a clear blue sky day with not a cloud in sight and zero haze. The pictures we got were perfect. No filter was required to capture the beauty we found that day.
Getting To Bluffers Park In Scarborough
Anyone not familiar with the Toronto area in Ontario, Canada might find it hard to know where the Scarborough Bluffs were. Toronto is a massive city of about 3 million people but the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) expands that to almost 6 million. The GTA covers the areas that surround Toronto including the city of Scarborough to the east.
Toronto is on Lake Ontario and Scarborough extends down to Lake Ontario as well. Bluffers Park in the Scarborough Bluffs was right on the lake.
From our condo in the west end of Toronto, it was an easy drive for us along the lake. If you came in from another area, you would take one of the local highways to get close. And then use the city streets to Kingston Road and on to Bluffer’s Park. The park was well marked from Kingston Road.
What Are The Scarborough Bluffs
The Scarborough Bluffs are a 15km long geological formation along Lake Ontario east of Toronto. Sedimentary deposits accumulated over 12,000 years ago. They were once part of the old shoreline of Glacial Lake Iroquois, formed after the last ice age. In places the cliffs rose 90m above the lake level.
Over the years, the natural processes of wind and water erosion continued to change the shape and position of the cliffs. Residential developments accelerated the deterioration.
The edge of the “bluffs” were very unstable. But we still saw many houses perched on that eroding edge.
The Parks At The Top Of The Scarborough Bluffs
There are nine parks along the Scarborough Bluffs. We wanted to start our visit with a view from above at one of the parks. But that proved harder than we thought it would be.
On our first visit, we drove through the residential streets on top of the bluffs and found Cathedral Bluff Park. There were signs all through the park about the danger at the cliff edges and the fines for crossing the fence. The cliff edge had dramatically failed on numerous occasions. So the danger was real! But it was clear that the chain across the path had not kept many people out.
When we went back a few weeks later, we went to the Scarboro Crescent Park. We quickly saw that the easy to scale wooden fences had been beefed up. Although we still saw places where the fence was scaled despite the danger and the $5000 fines. And many parts of the path still did not have the better fencing. But news reports suggested that more high fencing was installed in several parks.
The Scarboro Crescent Park had a long walkway along the bluffs. In areas, the cliff edge was close and the tree foliage had not fully covered the view. We got glimpses down to the park viewpoints that we walked later that day. But we were disappointed that we got no real view of the cliff face from above. Just a small teaser at one point!
Even without a walk out to the edge, we enjoyed a walk along the top. The fields were filled with spring wildflowers. And the sun was out.
Our quick stops on top of the Scarborough Bluffs got us excited for our days at Bluffers Park on Lake Ontario.
Much To Do At Bluffers Park On Lake Ontario
Since Bluffer’s Park had the only beach, that was the park we chose to visit for our view up at the Scarborough Bluffs. Bluffers Park on Lake Ontario covered a large area. On our first visit, the over-achiever in me suggested we would tackle the entire park on one visit. David was smarter than that. In the end, we were glad we visited twice and really enjoyed the whole park.
When we entered Bluffers Park, we first saw a number of marinas and yacht clubs. There was a restaurant that was closed when we visited. And a long row of houseboats, some available to rent. We thought they would be fun to rent for a night away from home.
Ahead of us were a number of marinas and yacht clubs. There was a restaurant that was closed when we visited. And a long row of houseboats, some available to rent. We thought they would be fun to rent for a night away from home.
We really wanted to hike under the Cathedral Bluffs. And as a bonus, this was the area where the beach was located. So on our first visit to Bluffers Park we headed to the Bluffers Beach area.
Hiking Under Cathedral Grove
We parked the car by the beach and headed off to hike the paths below the Cathedral Bluffs section of the Scarborough Bluffs. We did not know what to expect on the path so we both wore our hiking boots. What we found was mostly a level path that gave us more of a walk than a hike. Although we were glad our boots helped in several wet areas.
As we walked along we saw the Cathedral Bluffs above us. We peered through the bull rushes in places and in others got a clear view up at the towering cliffs. The cliffs were the highest at this point.
A couple of times we chose paths that seemed to go towards the cliff faces. We knew the unstable cliffs could not be climbed but we wanted a view up the cliff face. But the paths got much tighter and rougher than we wanted.
We continued to walk under the Cathedral Bluffs before we took the path that led us out to the beach.
Walking Along The Beach
We took the path that led to the end of the bay. When we looked up, we saw the cliff face above us.
The broad expanse of beach stretched along Lake Ontario. Mid-week, early in the season we found the beach almost empty. There were no lifeguards on duty. But life rings were positioned frequently along the beach.
We walked slowly back along the water line. The water picked up the minerals in the sand and sparkled as the waves hit.
From the water line, we got a broader perspective on the Cathedral Bluffs. And it gave us a better appreciation for the scale of the Scarborough Bluffs.
When we reached the other end of the beach, we saw the sign that proclaimed this was a Blue Flag beach. One of the criteria for a Blue Flag beach was water quality. So we were surprised when we found many signs that warned about swimming due to the currents. We were sure that would not stop people in the heat of the summer. Just as the sign saying no dogs did not stop people from letting their dogs roam freely on the beach.
The beach area was a lovely and relaxing way to finish our hike at Bluffers Park on Lake Ontario.
Picnic Areas And Park Land By The Beach At Bluffers Park On Lake Ontario
When we kept walking along the water edge we came to a grassy area and a small sheltered beach. Picnic tables and bbq’s were sprinkled over the grassy area.
We climbed up on the rocks for a view back down the beach and up the cliffs at Cathedral Bluffs. It was the perfect last view of Bluffers Park on Lake Ontario.
Walking In The Park At Bluffers Park
On our second visit, we wanted to see the view of the Scarborough Bluffs at the park end. There were multiple paths that led to the Bluffers Park Lookout and the small beach right under the Scarborough Bluffs. We planned a circular route and headed towards Lake Ontario. This left the cliff views to the end.
After a short walk through the park path, we came to a large high chain link fence that blocked off much of the point that went out into the lake and the Bluffers Park Lookout. Work was underway to repair the breakwater. Luckily there was a worn footpath beside the fence and we continued through the brush.
It was not long until we came to the first landmark we saw from above at Scarboro Crescent Park. We got our first view of the Scarborough Bluffs over the large settling pond. And when the swans and people fishing were quiet, we even got some reflections.
We continued along and finally came out at the water. While we could not go right to the Bluffers Park Lookout, we settled in and enjoyed the tranquil bay. Mid-week we had the park virtually to ourselves.
Even with out the cliff views, it was a great day by the water when we visited Bluffers Park On Lake Ontario.
Many Views Up At The Scarborough Bluffs
From the bay, we got our first view of the Scarborough Bluffs. From that distance, we got a real sense of the span of this side of the cliffs.
We wandered along the shore and crossed a small creek. This gave us a fully unobstructed view of the vast cliff face at this end of Bluffers Park. It was fascinating to see this side after our first view under Cathedral Bluffs on our first visit.
There was a small beach area that was open. But the narrow beach right under the bluffs was fenced off and signed with more warnings. We stood at the fence and got a good perspective on the steepness of the cliff. In many areas we saw large piles of rock that slid off.
From this viewpoint, we looked up the cliffs. We were just below where we walked earlier in Scarboro Crescent Park. The variety in the detail and shapes we saw at the top of the cliffs were fascinating. When we zoomed in, we saw the sandstone detail and understood why the cliffs by Scarborough Bluffs were so unstable and dangerous.
A Slow Walk Out Of Bluffers Park
After we had enough of the cliff views, we headed along the wide gravel path that led back to the parking lot. As we walked, we regularly looked back at the quickly disappearing cliff face.
The path wound through the trees and past the settling pond. We were sure that if we started our circular path this way, we would be totally unprepared when the cliffs appeared.
We were so glad we got so many great views of the Scarborough Bluffs from below when we visited Bluffers Park On Lake Ontario.
Some Facilities At Bluffers Park On Lake Ontario
We were happy we found open bathrooms at both areas at Bluffers Park. On our day trips around Ontario, facilities were often hard to find. There were no food options available. Although we saw the ice cream truck as it headed in.
If we came prepared, we could spend the day at Bluffers Park and find lots to do. Both the beach and parks sides had lots of open space to enjoy. With stunning views up to the Scarborough Bluffs.
Street Art Too
We loved when we came across a piece of street art on our travels. We found the first piece by the washrooms at the beach end at Bluffers Park.
When we went to the park side at Bluffers Park, we again found interesting art work on both sides of the public bathrooms.
When we headed back home along Kingston Road, we were drawn in by the large mural we saw on the side of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 13. It was a beautiful tribute to the military.
As we drove along, we saw more and more street art on the buildings. Toronto is well known for the street art in all parts of the city. We pulled in when we saw another wall covered with a mural. The mural was marked as “Mural 5” on the “Mural Route” in Canada. We wanted to check that out and see many more of the murals on the map.
After great days in the outdoors, it was fun to find colourful art.
A Great Day At Bluffers Park On Lake Ontario
After our visit, we wondered why it took us so long to visit Bluffers Park on Lake Ontario. The Scarborough Bluffs were a local geological treat. And we found lots of outdoor activities when we visited on a day trip from Toronto.
The views of the Cathedral Bluffs were stunning. The cliffs at the park end of Bluffers Park provided such an interesting contrast. Especially on perfect blue sky days! We enjoyed the views of Lake Ontario from the long sand beach, along the park paths and over the rocky shore line.
Have you visited Bluffers Park On Lake Ontario? Do you have another favourite by the Scarborough Bluffs?
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