Monday, July 3, 2017
Rosetta McClain Gardens is a jewel along the Scarborough Bluffs. The gardens have been transformed into a place for all to enjoy, especially the handicapped. Close to the parking lot is a sign showing the layout of the park. The sign has Braille on it and is laid out in relief so that everyone can find their way around with ease. The walkways and paths have been created out of different types of material so that the handicapped can find their way around more easily. Cobblestone, bricks and interlocking stones each create a path that feels and sounds different to aid the visually impaired.
In 1904 Thomas McDonald West bought 40 acres of land over looking the Scarborough Bluffs. When he passed away he divided it among his four children with each one getting about 10 acres. His daughter, Rosetta, and her husband Robert Watson McClain made many improvements to their property in the form of gardens and walkways.
When Rosetta died in 1940 her husband wanted to find a way to commemorate her and in 1959 he offered the city the land for a park to be named after her. In 1977 the land was conveyed to the care and control of Toronto Region Conservation Authority. They’ve added parcels of land three times, incorporating other parts of the original homestead) to bring the total to 22 acres. To add to the enjoyment of the visually impaired the gardens have been laid out as scent gardens. There are extensive rose gardens which were, unfortunately, a little past their prime.
The old McClain house still stands, although in ruins, on the property. Efforts have been made to preserve the remnants by adding concrete along the top edge of some of the crumbling walls.
Rosetta McClain Gardens have a good view of Lake Ontario from the top of the Scarborough Bluffs but there is no access to the lake. A fence keeps people from getting too close to an earlier fence which is no longer moored to the eroding sand. The concrete pole anchor has been left hanging high above the lake while it waits to eventually fall. Access to the lake and the view of the Scarborough Bluffs can be found just east of Rosetta McClain Gardens at the foot of Brimley Road in Bluffer’s Park.
The extensive gardens and a wide variety of trees make it an excellent place for birdwatchers to observe their feathered friends.
Google Maps Link: Rosetta McClain Gardens
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