Scarborough Waterfront Project


Hazardous Conditions at Scarborough Bluffs
Updated: May 10, 2018

Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) crews have removed the debris that was blocking the trails near the Doris McCarthy Trail and the Guild construction route and access to the water’s edge has been restored. 


Landslides along the Scarborough Bluffs occur every year, all year long. The bluff erosion along this section of shoreline is a result of surface water flowing over the bluff edge, groundwater moving through the bluff face and wave action at the bottom of the bluff pulling material away, causing slumping. There are several sections of the Scarborough Bluffs, like the Doris McCarthy Trail, that are very active, especially in the spring.

aerial view of Scarborough Bluffs looking west

While shoreline protection has been placed along the shoreline in this section, the bluff is still very active and will continue to erode and slump until the slope stabilizes and vegetates. It could take decades to reach this state.

TRCA has advised the public to use extreme caution adjacent to the Lake Ontario shoreline during high water level events, not only due to wave action but the potential for landslides. TRCA is monitoring the Scarborough area very closely to determine if further cautions need to be put in place to address public safety.

Members of the public are asked to stay well inside the fenced areas at the top of the bluffs, as many of these areas have had recent landslides, further compromising the bluff edge.


Notice: City of Toronto City Council Meeting

The Scarborough Waterfront Project (SWP) has been placed on the agenda for the City of Toronto City Council meeting on May 22-24, 2018. The agenda is available HERE.

The purpose is to seek approval from the City Council to submit the final SWP Environmental Assessment to the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC).

The City of Toronto provides the opportunity to submit comments on a matter being presented to City Council. Information on how to submit a comment is available HERE. Presenters are not heard at City Council meetings.

If Toronto City Council approves the submission the final SWP EA will be submitted to the MOECC. A decision from the MOECC on the Project is expected to take up to 12-15 months.



The Bluffs

The Scarborough Bluffs are an iconic natural wonder located at the doorstep of Canada’s largest city.  Towering above Toronto’s Lake Ontario waterfront they offer strikingly beautiful natural greenspaces and support increasingly rare habitats for a wide variety of of fish, birds and other wildlife.

The Challenge

As experience has shown in cities worldwide, nature in the city needs to be effectively managed or it will decline.

For the Bluffs, that means balancing the realities of being located among millions of people, building and maintaining infrastructure that offers a high quality of life to all, protecting natural features and wildlife habitats, and ensuring that future generations will be able to enjoy the Bluffs and the Scarborough waterfront as well.

The Vision

As Toronto continues to grow and evolve, the Scarborough Waterfront is a place for safe and enjoyable waterfront experiences accessible to all who want them.

These experiences are supported by a system of greenspaces along the Lake Ontario shoreline that respects and protects the significant natural and cultural features of the Bluffs, and enhances wildlife habitats on the shore and in the water.

Environmental Assessment

The Scarborough Waterfront Project is an Individual Environmental Assessment.

An Environmental Assessment is a study, which assesses the potential environmental effects (positive or negative) of a proposal.

Key components of an environmental assessment include:

  • consultation with government agencies and the public
  • consideration and evaluation of alternatives
  • management of potential environmental effects

There have been two phases to the Scarborough Waterfront Project, the first being the Terms of Reference phase (completed) and the second is the Environmental Assessment phase (currently underway).