Scarborough Bluffs – Toronto’s Natural Geological Wonder

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2019 - The Scarborough Bluffs
2019 – The Scarborough Bluffs

The Scarborough Bluffs, or simply The Bluffs, the main access is through Bluffer’s Park at ‪1 Brimley Rd S in Scarborough.

How the Scarborough Bluffs Were Formed

This natural wonder is a geological record of the latter stages of the Great Ice Age. About 70,000 years ago, sediments made up of plant and animal fossils were left in a river delta. This occurred in the first advance of the Wisconsinan glacier. The fossil sediments formed the lower 46 m or 150 ft portion of The Bluffs. This was then covered by 61 m or 200 ft of alternating layers of sand and boulder clay, put there by later advances and retreats of ice. The last withdrawal of the glacier happened about 12,000 years ago. Wind, along with water erosion from Lake Ontario, are what formed the Scarborough Bluffs.

Along 15 km of Lake Ontario’s Shore

Between 1980 and 1998 - Looking east towards the Scarborough Bluffs
Between 1980 and 1998 – Looking east towards the Scarborough Bluffs (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1465, File 139, Item 4)

The Bluffs has attracted scientific interest from around the world. They run along a 15 km stretch on the shore of Lake Ontario, from the Eastern Beaches in Toronto to East Point Park in Scarborough. There are 11 waterfront parks that allow visitors to admire the magnificent beauty of The Bluffs; however, the main area is Bluffer’s Park.

How to Access from Bluffer’s Park

2019 - Bluffer's Park
2019 – Bluffer’s Park

Follow Brimley Rd South, going towards Lake Ontario. Take the beautiful, winding, tree-lined road down to Bluffer’s Park. Keeping to the right, a large paid parking area is also on the right. Once parked, head towards the lake. Follow the path along the lake to the right, leading you to the beautiful Bluffs.

Be sure to check the City of Toronto website for hours of operation.

Scarborough Bluffs Photos

Date unknown - Men on the water's edge at Scarborough Bluffs
Date unknown – Men on the water’s edge at Scarborough Bluffs (photo taken at City of Toronto Archives)
2019 - The Scarborough Bluffs
2019 – The Scarborough Bluffs
Circa 1909 - Point at Scarborough Bluffs
Circa 1909 – Point at Scarborough Bluffs (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1244, Item 1537)
1909- Cathedral Spires at the Scarborough Bluffs
1909- Cathedral Spires at the Scarborough Bluffs (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1548, Series 393, Item 1919)
September 4, 1909 - Scarborough Bluffs
September 4, 1909 – Scarborough Bluffs (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1548, Series 393, Item 1922)
2019 - The Scarborough Bluffs
2019 – The Scarborough Bluffs
Circa 1911 - Stairs at Scarborough Bluffs
Circa 1911 – Stairs at Scarborough Bluffs (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1244, Item 1707)
Circa 1911 - Scarborough Heights Park
Circa 1911 – Scarborough Heights Park (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1244, Item 2573)
August 4, 1915 - Canada Steamship Lines freighter Alexandria, bound from Montreal to Toronto, wrecked at the Scarborough Bluffs after a storm. All 23 crew aboard were saved. The estimated loss of the ship was $100,000
August 4, 1915 – Canada Steamship Lines freighter Alexandria, bound from Montreal to Toronto, wrecked at the Scarborough Bluffs after a storm. All 23 crew aboard were saved. The estimated loss of the ship was $100,000 (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1244, Item 238A)
Circa 1916 - The Scarborough Bluffs
Circa 1916 – The Scarborough Bluffs (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1244, Item 1990)
Date unknown - Scarborough Bluffs
Date unknown – Scarborough Bluffs (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 536, Item 386)
Between 1980 and 1998 - Bluffer's Park at the Scarborough Bluffs
Between 1980 and 1998 – Bluffer’s Park at the Scarborough Bluffs (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1465, File 139, Item 12)
2019 - Bluffer's Park
2019 – Bluffer’s Park
2019 - Dunker's Flow Balancing System at the Scarborough Bluffs
2019 – Dunker’s Flow Balancing System at the Scarborough Bluffs
Between 1980 and 1998 - Bluffer's Park at the Scarborough Bluffs
Between 1980 and 1998 – Bluffer’s Park at the Scarborough Bluffs (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1465, File 139, Item 7)
2010s - The Scarborough Bluffs
2010s – The Scarborough Bluffs (Shutterstock.com/Artist: eskystudio)
Between 1980 and 1998  - Looking east towards the Scarborough Bluffs
Between 1980 and 1998 – Looking east towards the Scarborough Bluffs (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1465, File 139, Item 4)
September 4, 1909 - Cathedral spires at Scarborough Bluffs
September 4, 1909 – Cathedral spires at Scarborough Bluffs (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1548, Series 393, Item 1918)
2021 – The heritage plaque reads: Scarborough Bluffs "The layers of sand and clay exposed in these bluffs display a remarkable geological record of the last stages of the Great Ice Age. Unique in North America, they have attracted worldwide scientific interest. The first 46 metres (150 feet) of sediments contain fossil plants and animals that were deposited in a large river delta during the first advance of the Wisconsinan glacier some 70,000 years ago. They are covered by 61 metres (200 feet) of boulder clay and sand in alternating layers left by four subsequent advances and retreats of the ice. The final withdrawal of the glacier occurred some 12,000 years ago." Ontario Heritage Foundation, Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Recreation
2021 – The heritage plaque reads:

Scarborough Bluffs

“The layers of sand and clay exposed in these bluffs display a remarkable geological record of the last stages of the Great Ice Age. Unique in North America, they have attracted worldwide scientific interest. The first 46 metres (150 feet) of sediments contain fossil plants and animals that were deposited in a large river delta during the first advance of the Wisconsinan glacier some 70,000 years ago. They are covered by 61 metres (200 feet) of boulder clay and sand in alternating layers left by four subsequent advances and retreats of the ice. The final withdrawal of the glacier occurred some 12,000 years ago.”

Ontario Heritage Foundation, Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Recreation
SOURCE

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