Watershed Features – Lake Ontario Waterfront

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Etobicoke Sector


The Etobicoke Sector includes 9.7 km of lake frontage covering all of the waterfront lands in the former Borough of Etobicoke.

The westerly limit of the sector is Marie Curtis Park where the Etobicoke Creek enters Lake Ontario. The easterly limit is the mouth of the Humber River. Mimico Creek enters Lake Ontario approximately 1.6 km west of the mouth of the Humber River at the Humber Bay Park complex.

Along this section of the waterfront, the shore cliff is fairly uniform varying from sandy sloping beaches to 6 m bluffs consisting of sand, silt and clay. In the nearshore zone, the bottom is composed mainly of shale and has essentially been scraped clean of material by currents, wave action and stone hooking activities of the 19th and early 20th centuries.

The Waterfront Trail, a signature project of the Waterfront Regeneration Trust, stretches across the shoreline of TRCA’s jurisdiction. Please click here for more information on the Waterfront Trail in the Etobicoke, Toronto and Scarborough sectors of the shoreline. Follow this link to download the trail map from Hamilton to Toronto.

Marie Curtis Park

aerial view of Marie Curtis Park

Marie Curtis Park is located in the southwest corner of the City of Toronto, situated on the banks of the Etobicoke Creek near Browns Line & Lake Shore Boulevard.

Features of this 34 ha park include a public swimming beach, wading pool, splash pad, playground, picnic areas, an off-leash dog area, and trails, including a connection to the Waterfront Trail.  The park is also home to an abundance of wildlife and native plants.

The park was created in the late 1950s as a response to flooding experienced in the area after Hurricane Hazel in 1954. The park was named after Marie Curtis, who was elected as Reeve of the Village of Long Branch in 1953 and was a member of Metro Council in 1954. It is one of the very few parks in North America named after a female community leader.

The Master Plan for Marie Curtis Park prepared in 1981 will be updated following the approval and implementation of the Arsenal Lands Master Plan Addendum. Updating the Marie Curtis Park Master Plan is necessary to successfully integrate the east and west portions of Marie Curtis Park with the Arsenal Lands site to the west in order to form a regional waterfront destination amassing 49.7 ha.

Marie Curtis Park is a five minute walk from the Long Branch GO Station on the Lakeshore West line. You can also travel to the park via TTC by following one of these routes to the Long Branch Loop: 501 Queen streetcar, 110 Islington South bus southbound from Islington station, or the 123 Shorncliffe bus southbound from Kipling station.

Colonel Samuel Smith Park


Colonel Samuel Smith Park is a 78 ha site located along a stretch of wooded shoreline in the Kipling and Lake Shore Blvd area. It is bordered to the east by 13th Avenue and to the west by the R.L. Clark Water Treatment Plant.

The park shares the former Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital grounds with Humber College, Father John Redmond Catholic Secondary School, Lakeshore Yacht Club and others.

Features of this park include trails, picnic areas, beaches and the City’s only outdoor ice skating trail in the winter. The park is home to a wide variety of plants, trees, birds and other wildlife, providing the perfect location for nature enthusiasts to observe the local wildlife and bird populations.

The Lake Ontario Waterfront Development Program identified this area for regional park development. Implementation of a regional waterfront park began in 1980 after TRCA received approval under the provincial Environmental Assessment Act. A lakefilll program was undertaken to increase the land base and provide public access to the shoreline.

To visit the park via public transit, take the 501 Queen streetcar and exit at Kipling Avenue or travel to Kipling station and take the 44 Kipling South bus southbound and exit at Colonel Samuel Smith Park Loop.

Mimico Waterfront Park


Mimico Waterfront Park is a new waterfront amenity on the Lake Ontario Waterfront between Humber Bay Park West and Norris Crescent Parkette.

Features of the park include 1.1 km of multi-use waterfront trail, cantilevered boardwalks, sand dune restoration, cobble beaches, sheltered embayments as well as terrestrial and aquatic habitat enhancements.

The park was created in two phases: the first phase opened in 2008; the final phase was completed in October 2012.

The park includes 1.1km of multi-use waterfront trail, headlands and cobble beaches, a partly sheltered embayment, a boardwalk and a back dune feature at Amos Waites Park, three sections of cantilevered boardwalk, small pockets of wetland habitat between the boardwalk and shoreline, terrestrial and aquatic habitat enhancements, landscaping and park lighting.

Funding for this project, totalling $18 million, was provided by Waterfront Toronto.

The park provides safe access to the waterfront, as well as numerous environmental, economic and social benefits to the Mimico community and broader region.

Mimico Waterfront Park runs parallel to Lake Shore Boulevard West. You can access the park by heading south from Lake Shore down Norris Crescent, Summerhill Road, or Superior Avenue. The park can also be accessed via Amos Waites Park which is at the base of Mimico Avenue. The 501 Queen streetcar runs along Lake Shore Boulevard West and makes stops at all of these streets.

To access the park from the east, follow the Humber Bay Park West Trail which connects to the new section of trail in Mimico Waterfront Park. There is often street parking available and a Green P Lot located on Primrose Avenue just Northwest of Lakeshore Boulevard West and Superior Avenue. Visitors are encouraged to use public transit to visit the park.

Humber Bay Parks

An aerial view of Humber Bay Park

Humber Bay Park Complex comprises 138 ha of park space divided into two large headlands, one east (Humber Bay Park East) and one west (Humber Bay Park West) of the mouth of Mimico Creek, bordered to the north by Lake Shore Boulevard West.

The park complex features public boat launches, mooring facilities, fishing piers, trails, seating areas, parking and washrooms. The Humber Bay Park Complex also accommodates the Mimico Cruising Club, Etobicoke Yacht Club, Humber College Sailing Centre and the Toronto Police Marine Unit.

Humber Bay Park West  features a Dogs Off-Leash Area while Humber Bay Park East includes butterfly habitat made up a diverse array of native plants, shrubs and trees.

Construction of the park began in 1971, with the official opening of the park in 1984, TRCA  constructed park amenities and installed habitat enhancement projects as part of the Lake Ontario Waterfront Development Program.

To visit the parks via public transit, take the 501 Queen streetcar and exit at Legion Road to reach Humber Bay Park West or Park Lawn Road to reach Humber Bay Park East.

City of Toronto Sector

aerial view of City of Toronto waterfront

The City of Toronto Sector extends from the Humber River in the west, to Nursewood Avenue in the east, a distance of approximately 16.9km. The primary feature of this sector is the central waterfront: the harbour and the Toronto Islands.

The Western Beaches comprises the area south of the Gardiner Expressway between the Humber River and the projection of Dufferin Street at the Canadian National Exhibition. This section of the waterfront is entirely within Humber Bay and as a result, is protected from major storms from the east by the Toronto Islands.

A sandy bottom runs adjacent to the Western Beaches shoreline. Beyond that, the bottom material consists of silty clay deposited by the Humber River. The Humber River is at the western edge of this sector and carries a significant sediment load during the spring flood season. The silty clay material is deposited in the vicinity of the mouth as well as to the east.

The Eastern Beaches cover 2.4 km of shoreline south of Queen Street between Ashbridge’s Bay and the eastern limit of the former City of Toronto at Nursewood Road. It consists of a gently sloping backshore and a gradually sloping bottom of fine sand. The beach material in this area is fed by eroding material from the Scarborough Bluffs and is continually shifting as a result of wave action and lake currents.

The narrow eastern and central areas of the eastern beaches are low-lying and therefore are vulnerable from the effects of high water cycles and bad storms. Shoreline protection works is used to mitigate the force of the wave action.


Tommy Thompson Park

aerial view of Tommy Thompson Park

Tommy Thompson Park is a 471 ha site located at the foot of Leslie Street.  From 1959 until present day, a combination of lakefilling and dredging activities created the current configuration of the park extending 5 km into Lake Ontario. TRCA currently owns 247 ha, known as Tommy Thompson Park while MNR leases the remaining land base to the Toronto Port Authority for lakefilling operations.

Tommy Thompson Park has evolved into one of the most significant features along the north shoreline of Lake Ontario. It is home to numerous birds, fish, reptiles, amphibians, mammals and vegetation communities, which have distinguished Tommy Thompson Park as an internationally recognized Important Bird Area and as an Environmentally Significant Area.

In 1973, the Provincial Cabinet gave TRCA “the responsibility of being the Province’s agent with regard to the proposed Aquatic Park (Tommy Thompson Park) and the preparation of a master plan”.  The Tommy Thompson Park Master Plan was completed in 1989 with an Addendum completed in 1992. In 1995, the Minister of the Environment approved the implementation of the Master Plan Addendum.

Until 2003, implementation had been very limited due to continued lakefilling and lack of funding. However, despite restrictions in operating hours (weekends and holidays), Tommy Thompson Park now attracts more than 250,000 visitors per year.

In 2004, the federal government, through Waterfront Toronto, contributed $8 million to begin the implementation of the Master Plan Addendum.

Between 2005 to 2011, TRCA implemented a number of project components including the construction of a formalized trail system and three significant pieces of park infrastructure: Staff Booth and Interpretive Area, Ecological Research Station and an Environmental Shelter.  Furthermore, the implementation of the Natural Area Enhancement Plan resulted in newly created aquatic and terrestrial habitat, critical habitat improvements and shoreline protection features.

To get to the park, take the 83 Jones bus southbound from Donlands station to Leslie Street at Commissioners Road. You may also take the 501 Queen streetcar and exit at Leslie Street, however this route option is a longer walk to the park entrance.


Ashbridge’s Bay Park

aerial view of Ashbridge's Bay park

Ashbridge’s Bay Park is a 17 ha site bordered to the east by Woodbine Beach, to the west by Coatsworth Cut and to the north by Lake Shore Boulevard East.

Park amenities include picnic areas, trails and interpretive signage, seating areas, parking, a public boat launch and seasonal moorings. The park also accommodates four private boat clubs: the Boy Scouts and Navy League, Toronto Hydroplane and Sailing Club, Ashbridge’s Bay Yacht Club and the boat house facility of the Balmy Beach Canoe Club.

The park also features an outstanding skateboard park located in the northwest corner. Woodbine Beach is one of the City’s eight blue flag beaches, making it a prime swimming location in the city.

Lakefilling operations undertaken by TRCA between 1972 and 1975 created the new park which was officially opened in 1977. Since then, aquatic habitat enhancement work including shoreline naturalization and structural fish habitat has been undertaken by TRCA.

In 2013, TRCA, in partnership with the City of Toronto, re-initiated a Class Environmental Assessment (EA) to address erosion and sedimentation issues within Coatsworth Cut and Ashbridge’s Bay Park. The EA picked up where the 2009 Class EA left off and identified the design alternatives that still remain valid given the change in project scope. For more information on this project, please visit here.

There are several ways to reach the park using the TTC: 92 Woodbine South bus southbound from Woodbine station to Woodbine Beach Loop; 22 Coxwell bus southbound from Coxwell station and exit at Eastern Avenue; or the 501 Queen streetcar and exit at Kingston Road.

Scarborough Sector

aerial view of the Scarborough Bluffs

The Scarborough Sector includes the lake frontage extending from Victoria Park Avenue to the Rouge River, a distance of approximately 20.1 km.

This sector is characterized by the Scarborough Bluffs which are a unique and impressive natural feature of the Toronto Region waterfront. The Bluffs have an elevation of up to 91.4m, and include the spectacular Needles and Cathedral Bluffs close to Brimley Road. The bluffs are known and studied throughout the world as one of the most interesting records of the Wisconsin stage of the Pleistocene geologic era.

Bluffer’s Park

Aerial view of Bluffer's Park

This 20 ha waterfront park is located at the Lake Ontario shoreline at the bottom of Brimley Road.  Park facilities include a sandy beach, picnic areas, trails and lookouts, boat launching ramps, and day mooring docks. Bluffer’s Park also offers several recreational opportunities such as walking, hiking, swimming, bird watching and areas for appreciating nature.

Bluffer’s Park beach is one of the City’s eight Blue Flag beaches and the park is also a good spot to catch a glimpse of Monarch butterflies and songbirds during their migration.  Another distinguishing feature of the park is that it is the only destination within the Scarborough waterfront sector with recreational boating facilities.

Bluffer’s Park was developed in two stages: the first phase was officially opened in 1975, while phase two was completed in the early 1980s. The park provided needed public open space and public boat-launching facilities for recreational boaters and  private boat clubs.  The finished shoreline includes a series of headlands, pebble beaches and three basins.

The park can only be accessed by Brimley Road. If travelling by TTC, the 12 Kingston Road bus eastbound from Victoria Park station and the 102 Markham Road bus northbound from Warden station will get you to a stop on Brimley Road that is approximately a 20 minute walk to the park entrance.  The park is a 30 minute walk from the Scarborough GO Station on the Lakeshore East line.

East Point Park

aerial view of East Point Park

East Point Park is one of Toronto’s largest parkland areas along the City’s eastern waterfront.  The 60 ha area is bounded by the FJ Horton Water Filtration plant to the west, CNR tracks to the north, and the Highland Creek Sewage Treatment Plant to the east.

Its unique location near the mouth of  Highland Creek provides an important opportunity to link the Lake Ontario waterfront parklands with greenspace in the river valley.  A series of formal and informal trails integrate the various ecological communities and guide visitors through the park in a manner that minimizes impact on the natural environment.

The Waterfront Trail travels along Copperfield Road along the northern boundary of the park and eventually connects to the Port Union Waterfront Park.

East Point Park is somewhat remote but well known to bird-watchers and sports clubs. A large portion of the west end of the site contains a recreational sports complex which has four baseball diamonds, food and beverage service and associated parking.

Port Union Waterfront Park

Port Union Waterfront Park is a unique amenity on the Lake Ontario waterfront located between the mouth of Highland Creek and the Rouge River. The park provides 13.5 hectares of waterfront green space and 3.8 kilometers of continuous waterfront trail.

The implementation of this project also included improved recreational access to the waterfront, shoreline protection and the creation of additional terrestrial and aquatic habitat. Funding of $25 million for this project was provided by Waterfront Toronto.

The park was developed in two phases: the first phase opened in 2006; the final phase was completed in November 2012.

Features of the first phase included a pedestrian bridge over Highland Creek, trail connections north into the Highland Creek watershed, the creation of headlands for shoreline protection, and a pedestrian underpass at the Village Common that offers direct access to a larger headland known as the Pedestrian node with a Lookout Shelter.

Features of the final phase included the construction of a level crossing to provide a safe access point at Chesterton Shores, two additional parking lots at Lawrence Avenue East, the creation of headlands for shoreline protection and a pedestrian bridge and staircase known as the Western Gateway which connects the park to the City of Pickering.

The park can be accessed many ways: the pedestrian bridge over Highland Creek from East Point Park, the pedestrian underpass at the Port Union Village Common; from Rouge Beach Park; or through the pedestrian tunnel at the Rouge Hill GO Station. Parking is available at East Point Park or Rouge Beach Park however, visitors are encouraged to use public transit to visit the park.

If travelling by TTC, travel to Kennedy station to take the Scarborough RT to Scarborough Centre station, then hop on the 38 Highland Creek bus to the Rouge Hill GO Station. You can also take the Lakeshore East GO Transit line to reach the Rouge Hill GO Station.

Pickering/Ajax Sector

Aerial view of Frenchman's Bay

The Pickering/Ajax Sector is the most easterly waterfront sector  in the Toronto Region. This sector extends approximately 12.8 km of waterfront in the City of Pickering and Town of Ajax, excluding the interior shoreline of Frenchman’s Bay, which covers an additional 5.3 km.

Beginning at the Rouge River in the west and extending almost to the Ajax-Whitby town line, this sector has a shoreline that includes bluffs that reach up to 22.9 m as well as flat sand beach areas.

Pickering’s waterfront is a prime area for a number of recreational opportunities including surfing and kite boarding and provides spectacular scenery such as Frenchman’s Bay. Frenchman’s Bay is one of a series of large coastal wetlands along the north shore of Lake Ontario, home to a diversity of vegetation communities.

The Ajax waterfront includes 6 km of parkland stretching across the shores of Lake Ontario. Duffins Marsh, Rotary Park, Pickering Beach, and Paradise Park are just a few of the scenic spots along the Ajax waterfront where residents and visitors can engage in recreational activities. There is also a 7 km multi-use trail for walking, jogging, cycling and in-line skating. This trail is part of the Waterfront Trail and the Trans-Canada Trail.

Please visit the following websites for more information on the Pickering/Ajax waterfront:

The Waterfront Trail, a signature project of the Waterfront Regeneration Trust, stretches across the shoreline of TRCA’s jurisdiction. Please visit their website for more information on the Waterfront Trail in Pickering and Ajax:

Download the Pickering to Port Hope trail map.