Scarborough Bluffs

In my opinion, Scarborough Bluffs is one of Toronto’s most underrated attraction. With beautiful white cliffs bordering Lake Ontario and a wide sandy beach to boot, this place should ideally be a tourist favorite. Surprisingly, many newcomers and tourists to Toronto don’t even know that such a beautiful place exists in Toronto East. Therefore, I have put together this guide of 10 things you can do in Scarborough Bluffs and how to get there. I hope you enjoy discovering why this place is a local favorite and one of Toronto’s best kept secret.

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10 Things To Do In Scarborough Bluffs

There are many things you can do in Scarborough Bluffs, that makes it an ideal weekend getaway for staycationers and tourists alike. Try some of these activities when you visit Scarborough Bluffs

#1. Enjoy And Photograph The Natural Beauty Of The Bluffs

The White Cliffs of Scarborough Bluffs are an excellent backdrop for photos.
The White Cliffs of Scarborough Bluffs are an excellent backdrop for photos.

Scarborough Bluffs is a Photographer’s paradise. Whether you are a landscape, nature, wildlife or event photographer, Scarborough Bluffs can give you the perfect backdrop or content for your photographs. I frequently see many wedding parties, newly engaged couples and expectant mothers stop by the Bluffs to get a picture of their special day in the midst of the stunning blues of the lake and contrasting white of the cliffs. If you are Instagram crazy, like I am, you will also enjoy posting these stunning images on your feed leaving your followers wondering where in the world is this place! Time for some self-promotion here: Follow my feed on Instagram at @Traveling__Pari

#2. Swim in Bluffer’s Beach

Bluffer's Beach and Cathedral Bluffs
Bluffer’s Beach and Cathedral Bluffs

Bluffer’s beach is located right under the foothills of Cathedral Bluffs, which is a few minutes east of Scarborough Bluffs. The Cathedral Bluffs, which border the north side of the beach, not only enhance the beauty of the beach but also give it a private secluded feel. Swimming is allowed in the beach. In fact, this beach has received a Blue Flag in recognition of the high quality of water for swimming. This website is regularly updated with information about the E.Coli levels in the beaches of Toronto and states whether it is safe for swimming. For your safety, always check the website before you swim. This beach is the last stop on the newly introduced 175 bus route, so it easy to get there by TTC on weekends. For more information on how to get to this beach, check the Getting There section in this article.

#3. Enjoy a Picnic or a Barbeque In Bluffer’s Park/ Scarborough Bluffs Park

There are adequate picnic benches with gorgeous scenery all over Bluffer's park.
There are adequate picnic benches with gorgeous scenery all over Bluffer’s park.

Summer is barbeque season and Bluffer’s Park is no different. Adjacent to the Scarborough Bluffs and the Cathedral Bluffs, there is a lot of green space which has been beautifully maintained as a park. Plenty of park benches are scattered around the park which make it convenient for families to gather around and enjoy a picnic. Many families prefer to bring their barbeque and tents to spend an entire day or even a night under the stars in this park.

#4. Explore Wildlife In The Bluffs


A very common sight when you visit the Bluffs is the large number of Geese which inhabit the shores of Lake Ontario. I particularly love the spring, during late April or May, when you get to see geese guiding their newly hatched goslings in the water. The geese are so used to human presence, they don’t mind them at all. Check out the goose in the video above, who is standing stock still like a monk praying for Nirvana … What can be more idyllic and relaxing than this scene. You can be one with nature even in a big city like Toronto just like the goose. Geese and Loons are not the only species that reside and frequent the Bluffs. The area also has a numerous bird species like Bank Swallows, Swans, Dark-Eyed Junco, Egrets and a few foxes, Minks, coyotes and deer that have made the Bluffs their home.

#5. Hike The Scarborough Trail


Hike the 4.7 km Scarborough Trail. This trail is a very easy loop from Bluffer’s beach to Bluffer’s park. Serious hikers may find this trail a bit disappointing as there is no elevation at all, unless you climb the Bluffs. I would seriously caution against climbing the Bluffs as the clay on the Bluffs is unstable due to erosion and may cause accidents. An interesting part of the walk is the metal bridges at Bluffer’s park which suspend screen like curtains into the water according to the Dunker’s Flow Balancing System to treat the Stormwater collected at the Bluffs. An interesting explanation of how this system works is posted at the entrance of the bridges.

#6. Learn to Stand-Up Paddle


Paddling has quickly become very popular recently both as a way of exercise and also as a recreational activity on Lake Ontario. If you don’t know how to use a stand up paddle board, you can get a lessons and the gear from the Stand Up Paddleboard shop at the Marina. They also sell the equipment if you want to buy the board or you can simply rent from them. They are located at 7 Brimley Road South right next to Toronto Sailing School near the Marina.

#7. Get A Panoramic View Of The Lake From Scarboro Crescent Park

View From Scarboro Crescent Park
View From Scarboro Crescent Park

Did you know that there are nine parks lining the top of the Bluffs, each with an amazing view of the lake and the Bluffs below. One of the best view of the lake from the top can be seen from Scarboro Crescent Park. Even though this park is right above the Bluffs, you cannot get to the bottom of the Bluffs from here or vice versa. Check out the getting there guide on how to get to this park. Also, parts of the park are cordoned off to public because the edges are unstable. This doesn’t stop some people from crossing over to take pictures. However, be warned you may be fined if you get caught or worse hurt yourself if the edges of the cliff give out.

#8. Learn To Sail


The Toronto Sailing School is located right on the Marina. The basic sailing course costs $550 dollars and takes upto 30 hours to complete. Also, the Bluffer’s Park near the Marina is home to 4 Yatch clubs – Cathedral Bluffs Yacht Club (CBYC) , Scarborough Bluffs Sailing Club, Highland Yacht Club and Bluffer’s Park Yacht Club. All the four clubs offer yearly memberships. High Yacht Club boasts of being the most affordable club of the four. The Scarborough Bluffs Sailing Club , shown in the video above, accepts members from beginners to experts in sailing and boating. Even if you don’t own a boat, you can use the boats in the club’s fleet provided that you have the WSII or CANSail II certification. So, if you can afford the yearly membership, there is nothing stopping you from Sailing on Lake Ontario all summer.

#9. Enjoy The Bluffer’s Park Marina

The marina has docking and full maintenance facilities for your boat
The marina has docking and full maintenance facilities for your boat

If you are a boat owner, the marina at Scarborough Bluffs has plenty of docking and storing options for your boat. The Bluffer’s Park Marina also has a fuel dock which has both mid-grade and diesel fuel. Also, this marina is the only on-the-water mercury dealer in Toronto. Other facilities in the marina include a full service station where you can your boats serviced and repaired. If you are not a boat owner, you can still enjoy the view of the marina while treating yourself to delicious food from the full licensed Bluffer’s restaurant or the Dogfish pub .

#10. Rent A Floating House


Ever wondered what it would feel like to live in a floating home? There are about a dozen float homes on Scarborough Bluffs as shown in the Youtube video above. Of course, not everyone would prefer to own a floating home forever. However, with the advent of Airbnb, we can now experience living in a floating home for a night or two. Check out this link Rent a Floating Home On Airbnb . If you don’t have an Airbnb account, create an account using my Airbnb link . You will get $45 dollar in travel credit when you signup and I benefit as well by getting $25 in travel credit when you complete your first trip. So, it’s a win-win for both of us.

Getting There

New seasonal service from Kennedy Station to Bluffer's Park
New seasonal service from Kennedy Station to Bluffer’s Park

Now that I have sparked your curiosity about Scarborough Bluffs, I am sure you are looking for information about how to get there! Until recently, if you input Scarborough Bluffs Park in Google Maps, it led you to Scarboro Crescent Park and not to the foothills of Scarborough Bluffs. This is because, till May 2017, Scarboro Crescent Park was also known as Scarborough Bluffs Park! Talk about confusing! After many complaints of people getting lost and ending up in the wrong place, Toronto City finally changed the name of the park at the top of the Bluffs to Scarboro Crescent Park .

So, if you want to see Scarborough Bluffs, you have to decide first whether you want to see if from the top or the bottom. The top part of the Bluffs is not connected directly by a road or path to the bottom. So there are two different routes here. If you want to see it from the top, scroll down to the section on how to get to Scarboro Crescent Park. If you want to see the Bluffer’s beach and Bluffer’s Park, check directions below on how to get to Scarborough Bluffs.

Getting to Scarborough Bluffs Park and Bluffer’s Beach

By Public Transport (TTC)

To get to Scarborough Bluffs Park and Bluffer’s Beach from Downtown Toronto:

  1. Board the Line 2 subway going East from Bloor-Yonge Station towards Kennedy Station
  2. If it is a Saturday, Sunday or a public holiday, board the newly introduced 175 bus from Kennedy Station towards Bluffer’s Park. This is a new service which has been added on a seasonal basis. So, this service may not be running in the winter months. I will update the blog as and when more information is available. For Bluffer’s beach, get down at the last stop. For Bluffer’s park and Marina, get down at the last but one stop.
  3. If it is a weekday, follow these directions. Take the subway from Bloor-Yonge Station to Victoria Park Station. At Victoria Park Station, board the number 12 bus towards St. Clair and Barkdene Hills. Get down at 2665 Kingston Rd East Side, and walk to Brimley road. From there walk south till you arrive at Scarborough Bluffs Park. Please take care while walking on this Brimley road; the road is not pedestrian friendly. The same path as explained is shown in the map below:

By Car

  1. From Downtown, head East on St. Clair Ave or Kingston Road, whichever suits you the best.
  2. Turn Right on Brimley Road and drive south till the fork in the road
  3. If you want to see Bluffer’s Park and the white cliffs, stop at the fork in the road (shown by the cliff sign in the map below). There are two parking spaces here.
  4. If you want to see Bluffer’s beach, take left at the fork and keep going till you get to the parking lot of Bluffer’s beach

Parking

There are three parking lots near the Scarborough Bluffs. Two at the Bluffer’s park and one at Bluffer’s Beach. It is paid parking with a charge of $1.50/ Half Hour. The three parking spots are shown below

Getting To The Top Of Scarborough Bluffs – Scarboro Crescent Park

If you want to see a panoramic view of the lake and Bluffer’s park, the best view is visible from Scarboro Crescent Park.
Check out how to get there by Public Transport and Car below taking Bloor-Yonge station in downtown as the starting point:

By Public Transport(TTC)

  1. From Bloor-Yonge Station take Line 2 on the subway towards Kennedy Station.
  2. Get off the subway at Victoria Park Station, and board the bus number East – 12C Kingston Rd Towards St Clair and Barkdene Hills
  3. Get down at Kingston Rd at Ridgemoor Ave. and follow the walking directions on the map below

By Car

  1. From Downtown, head East on St. Clair Ave or Kingston Road, whichever suits you the best.
  2. Turn right onto Midland Avenue and follow Midland Avenue till you reach Romana Dr. Turn left on Romana Dr.
  3. On Scarboro Crescent, turn right and then left on Drake Crescent as shown in the map below

Parking

There is no paid parking spaces near the park. There is only street parking available.

I hope this guide helps you enjoy everything that Scarborough Bluffs has to offer.

Did this guide help you? If so, please leave a comment. If you need anymore information, don’t hesitate to ask.

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10 Things To Do In Scarborough Bluffs

18 Comments

    • Pari Reply

      Thank you Maddie, it is actually stunning. Couldn’t believe such a place could exist in Toronto!

  1. Pingback: Off the beaten path Toronto: Alternative things to do in Toronto by a local

  2. Oh wow. This looks like a beautiful and peaceful place! Is the water warm enough? 😉

    • Pari Reply

      Yes! 🙂 the water is warm and one of the best beach in Toronto for a swim!

  3. I’ve never been to Toronto except for the airport when I’ve got a connecting flight – big cities aren’t really my thing. And, I have to admit that I have never even once thought about beaches when thinking about Toronto – but Scarborough Bluffs looks and sounds amazing. And to find out that the water is actually warm, I might have to change my opinion on visiting Toronto 😉

  4. This place looks so cool! I didn’t even realize it was there, but now I’ll definitely be sure to visit if I end up in Toronto. Thanks so much for sharing!

  5. Those pictures look beautiful and peaceful. I’ve always wanted to visit Toronto just to do something different. Looks like I’ll have a place to check out when I get there!

  6. Scarborough Bluffs truly looks mesmerising and your are right in saying that its underrated as have not heart about it in the past! Thanks for introducing anew place Pari!

  7. Oh man, I live less than 2hrs from here, am in Toronto somewhat often and didn’t even know this place existed -_-
    I love this about our country- even in the busiest, most congested and concrete-jungle-feeling places are full of lush, green spaces and beautiful landscapes. We are truly blessed.

    • Pari Reply

      Yes, I hear this often. When I was new to Toronto, I didn’t know about this for atleast 6 months of living here.

  8. Angela Hoyos Reply

    I’ve only been to the bluffs once – it took me 30 minutes to try to get into the bluffs and another 30 minutes to find parking – so going back really puts me off. But you’re right this gem is quite beautiful. There’s a little beach nook which (to me) makes me feel like I’m somewhere abroad. Maybe I’ll give the bluffs a second chance and wake up super early to find parking lol!

    • Pari Reply

      Yes you are right. Parking can be a problem as parking spots are limited.

  9. This is a gorgeous area and your pictures are simply amazing. I need to pin this article in case I end near or around this area. I would love to take in the sites.

  10. Since we do not need a visa for Canada I have to be more serious organizing our trip to this part of the world. This place is amazing! Thanks for sharing!

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