Tag Archives: Scarborough Bluffs

Rosetta McClain Gardens

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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Beachcombers – Scarborough Bluffs

Saturday, January 7, 2017

The beach along the Scarborough Bluffs is an ever changing environment.  It is eroded by wind, rain and waves.  Objects are washed ashore, washed down the bluffs or dumped here.  As such it is a great place to look for treasures, each of which has a story to tell or a little bit of history to reveal.

This hike set out to investigate the Scarborough Bluffs, specifically the section from The Guild Inn through to East Point Park. There is a small parking lot for The Guild Inn at the end of Galloway Road and Guildwood Inn Parkway that will provide access to the beach via an old construction road which was used to harden the shore west of here in an attempt to prevent erosion.  The picture below shows the view from the top of The Bluffs looking west.

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The morning was bright and sunny but the beach was virtually deserted.

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East Point Park is one of the places that is known for its Monarch Butterfly migrations. Milkweed is essential to the lifecycle of this species of butterflies and it is encouraging to see milkweed seeds scattered along the bluffs.  The flat brown oval seeds are attached to the white fluff that helps them to be spread by the wind.

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The vegetation on the top of the bluffs slows erosion down but doesn’t stop it.  The roots are holding a thin layer of soil above where the sand has vanished below.  Walking along the top of the bluffs it is, therefore, necessary to stay back from the edge so that you don’t have the ground disappear below your feet.  The cover photo shows a fence that was installed to keep people away from the edge.  The fence is now falling over the edge itself.

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The area of Leslieville was situated on clay deposits that were excellent for brick making. As a result, Greenwood Avenue in 1914 had seven brickyards including that of Albert Wagstaff.  When Wastaff died in 1931 he left the brickyards to his drinking buddy Albert Harper who operated the brickyards while the family contested the will.  When the will was found to be valid he closed the yards down and the pit was turned into the town dump. The name Harper on the brick below was his way of stating his claim to the company while the will was being reviewed.

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The ravine at Greyabbey Park is one of the places where there is a flow of water from the top of the bluffs to the bottom.  Tall invasive phragmites grow in wetlands all along the sides of the bluffs, sometimes as much as half way up.  These ravines provide homes for the white-tailed deer, coyotes and other animals that call the bluffs home.

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As we walked along the beach we met a local couple who walk there daily.  We noted that they were combing the beach looking for interesting objects, as were we.  They collect antique bottles and glass and display them on an Instagram account.  Their treasures can be seen at this location.  The picture below shows several pieces of glass, including a couple of Coke bottle bottoms, that have been tumbled by the water and sand until they are well rounded.

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The Toronto Brick Company was stamped onto bricks produced at The Don Valley Brick Works, one of Toronto’s largest manufacturers.  Their bricks may also read TPB Co for Toronto Pressed Brick Company.  Much of the early Toronto skyline was made of buildings constructed using bricks from this brickyard.  Much of the beach along The Bluffs is also made up of bricks from this brickyard now that old construction debris has been used for fill and for hardening the shoreline.

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Rose hips provide a splash of colour in the winter and can also be eaten if you avoid the seeds.  It is said that they help to reduce inflammation and they contain 50% more vitamin C than oranges do.

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It’s hard to say where this plastic elephant got tossed away at because the lake may have carried it a long distance before depositing it here.  It may also have come from the top of the bluffs.  Unlike some of the glass on the beach, plastic has little chance of being taken home.

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The rusting remains of a milk chum, or milk can, lie behind a log on the beach.  Starting in the 1850’s metal cans were introduced for milk collection so it could be taken to the dairy.  By the 1970’s collection was converted to tanker trucks and the cans became collected for their antique value.

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There is a movement to pave a trail along this section of the bluffs and add armour stone to the shore to slow down the erosion of the bluffs.  Nature will continue to have its way and the bluffs will continue to recede.  The vegetation that is growing along the shoreline and up the sides of the bluffs will go a long way toward slowing the process down.

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This post brings the total along the Scarborough Bluffs to 8 which cover much of the distance between Bluffer’s Park and Highland Creek.  From the west to the east the adventure began with Sand Castles in Bluffer’s Park.  That story looks at the geology of the bluffs.  Erosion investigates the effect of the lake, the wind and rain on the bluffs.  Gates Gully is the most famous ravine along the bluffs with a sunken ship and stories of buried treasure.  South Marine Park Drive follows the lakeshore between the sunken Alexandria and The Guild Inn.  The Inn is a former artist guild and preserves some of Toronto’s early architecture.  This post fills the gap between the Inn and East Point Park where there is a Monarch Butterfly migration point.  Highland Creek is the eastern most point of The Bluffs.

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There’s still Greyabbey Park on the top of the Bluffs to be explored at some time in the future.

Google Maps link: The Bluffs

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South Marine Drive Park

Sunday August 21, 2016

The Scarborough Bluffs run for fifteen kilometers from Victoria Avenue east to Highland Creek.  At their highest point they rise ninety meters above the water and have been described as a geological wonder. They are the only bluffs of their kind in North America.

Hiking the GTA has made several visits to the bluffs starting with Guidwood Park in April 2015.  At that time the historic inn sat closed and in need of repairs.  The Guild Inn is currently undergoing restoration along with the addition of a multi-purpose event hall.  It was time to go and see how that was coming along as well as explore the construction roadway that leads down to the bottom of the Scarborough Bluffs.  The $20 million dollar restoration will include a 40,000 square foot addition to the original inn.  The Guild was the only Depression Era artist colony in Canada.  Over the years the Guild had been expanded with several additions, including a hotel tower.  After the inn closed in 2001 the tower was removed.  The current restoration strips the inn back to it’s original building and adds new structures to both ends.

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The restoration is scheduled for completion in December 2016.  The city is paying for the removal of mold and asbestos while the developer will pay to renovate the inn to it’s 1932 appearance.  A banquet hall is being built on the one end while an outdoor pavilion is going on the other end.  The developer has signed a 40 year agreement with the city.

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Parking is currently restricted to a lot on the east side of the old construction roadway.  The road was littered with old leaves and this Northern Crescent butterfly was quite well disguised among them.  I only caught sight of it when it moved.  It feeds on many species of the aster family of which we have many in Ontario.  The Northern Crescent has only recently been recognized as a separate species from the Pearl Crescent.  The latter of which has black lines in the large orange patches on the hind wings.

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There are only a couple of places where a vehicle can get to the bottom of the bluffs.  Bluffer’s Park is one of them and it sits near the western end of the bluffs.  This roadway is not open to public vehicles and is currently in use for heavy construction equipment.  One of the ways in which the city is trying to slow down the erosion of the bluffs is to create hard shorelines and South Marine Drive was created for that purpose.  Old construction material, demolished buildings and slabs of pavement are known as rip rap when dumped along the shoreline as seen below.  There is a project currently in process on the shoreline in front of The Guild.

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This roadway has been turned into a linear park known as South Marine Drive Park.  It runs for several kilometers along the south edge of the bluffs and was largely abandoned this morning except for a couple of hikers and a few cyclists.  With the views of the bluffs, and the breeze off the lake, I was surprised to see so few people.  Access is very limited though as you must come in from one end or the other.

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The sand in the bluffs was laid down in a river delta prior to the last ice age.  The melting ice sheet created a larger lake where Lake Ontario is today and this was known as Lake Iroquois.  It cut through the old river delta and exposed the bluffs.  This lake suddenly drained into a smaller lake known as Lake Admiralty which has since become Lake Ontario.  The exposed sand face has been eroding quickly ever since and in spite of all our efforts, continues to do so.  The roots of the trees and grasses hold the top layer together but when the sand below disappears it is only a matter of time before the tree crashes down the hill side.  The sand will make its way into the lake and eventually come to rest on one of Toronto’s many beaches, all of which are west of the bluffs.  The lake has a slow rotation that means that water takes six years to make its way around the lake and out into the St. Lawrence River.

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Jack-in-the-Pulpit can live up to 100 years.  The corm, similar to an onion,  grows underground and it will produce one flower if it is male or two if it is female.  The plant has the ability to change sex over it’s lifetime with only the female plant producing berries.  These berries will turn bright red and provide food for wild turkeys and wood thrushes.  The berries are listed as toxic to humans most likely because of the raphides of calcium oxalate that are present in the plant.  The sap of the plant makes an instant pain reliever when applied to a wound.  The natives used the plant in this way as well as making a red dye from the berries.  The picture below shows the unripe green berries in their cluster.

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The trees along this section of the bluffs are hanging over the edge as they start their journey to the bottom.

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Milkweed provides the only home for monarch butterfly larvae and the park has quite a large number of the plants growing along the side of the roadway.  The seed pods are getting ripe.  They will soon pop open sending the little white seeds floating on the wind.

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Following the trail will bring you to Gates Gully where the Doris McCarthy Trail leads back up to the Kingston Road.  Just before you reach the gully one section of a sunken ship can be seen sticking out of the lake.  On August 3, 1915 the steamship Alexandria was wrecked near the entrance to the gully. The Alexandria was built in 1866 and served both as a passenger ship and a cargo ship.  On this night it was bringing 300 tons of beans and tomatoes when it was blown too close to the shore and was grounded.  The ship broke into sections and was completely destroyed.  The locals made short work of stripping everything of value above the water line.  They say that many cellars were well stocked with sugar, vinegar and canned goods for the coming winter.  In maritime tradition Captain William Bloomfield was the last man off the ship at about 2:00 am the following morning.  All passengers were brought to safety and led up the bluffs through Gates Gully. The steam remains in the lake 100 years later, just to the east of the gully.  The picture below shows the wrecked ship as seen from the shore.  The cover photo shows the ship in close up.  There is a place rusted through the rectangular part of the hull right at the waterline.  A rounded piece of hull on the left of this is briefly exposed with each rolling wave.

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There are plenty of places where the slopes of the bluffs are covered with shrubs and trees.  This helps to stabilize the slopes and you will notice on the return trip that this section has some well vegetated areas.

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Having reached this point it is about a 45 minute walk back to the parking lot at the Guild.

Other posts in our Scarborough Bluffs Series:  Guildwood Park, Sand Castles (Bluffer’s Park), Erosion(Cathedral Bluffs), Gates Gully, East Point Park

Google Maps link: South Marine Drive Park

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East Point Park

Sunday June 19, 2016

East Point Park is sandwiched between a water and a sewage treatment plant.  The park has an upper meadow, wetlands, a segment of the Scarborough Bluffs and a lengthy beach.  There is a parking lot at the end of Beechgrove Drive where there is free parking.

At 55 acres this is one of Toronto’s largest waterfront parks.  This post is the fourth one by Hiking the GTA that covers parts of the Scarborough Bluffs.  To avoid a lot of repetition a link will be provided to other posts that contain further details.  The park itself is on the former land grant of William Bennett. John Bennett was a 26 year old farmer in Scarborough township in 1890 when he married Eunice Davis. He carried on with the family farm.  In the 1950’s Scarborough was transformed from farmland to urban centre and this piece of land remained undeveloped.  A water filtration plant named F. J. Horgan Filtration Plant was built on the west end in 1979 and the Highland Creek Sewage Plant was built on the east end in 1956.  Fom the parking area the trail leads past a pond and wetland then east along the bluffs.

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Dog strangling vine has become a real problem in many of our hiking areas.  The plant is related to the milkweed plant.  It is actually two plants who are related and are given the same common name.  Black Swallowwort and Pale Swallowwart are native to Eurasia and were brought to the Northern United States in the mid-1800’s for use in gardens.  Like many garden plants they escape and this one can produce up to 28,000 seeds per square metre infested.  In the fall the seed pods pop and the seeds are spread by wind and animal.  Hikers and cyclists need to be diligent at this time to be sure you don’t carry seeds on your clothing or especially in your bike tires.  The dense mats of tangled vines choke out native vegetation and prevent forest regeneration.  Since they cover vast areas and are not eaten by deer they put added pressure on other sources of food.

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Milkweed is related to the Dog Strangling Vine above but we are much happier to see it.  Environmentalists like David Suzuki encourage people to plant this one in their gardens.  Why should two related plants have such different attitudes when it comes to gardens? It has to do with the Monarch Butterfly.  The butterfly lays it’s eggs on the milkweed and it is the only plant on which they can complete their life cycle.  Monarch’s have also been seen laying eggs on dog strangling vines.  Unfortunately, the larvae cannot eat the plant and they all die off.  The milkweed in the picture below is in flower but is surrounded by it’s invasive cousin.  Chances are that it will be strangled and die off itself.

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The Monarch butterfly pictured below was just drying it’s wings after recently hatching.  There are four generations of monarchs born each year in Ontario.  This is the second generation this season and this butterfly will live between 2 and 6 weeks if it avoids being eaten first.  It’s offspring will be born in July or August and will also live up to 6 weeks.  It’s grandchildren will be born in September or October and they will live for six to eight months.  That will be the generation that flies to Mexico and returns next spring to start the cycle over again.  East Point Park is a staging area for monarchs heading south but the invasion of dog strangling vines may put this at risk.

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The trail continues west along the top of the bluffs but is fenced to keep you a safe distance from the edge.  Older portions of the trail run right along the edge of the bluffs but are quite unsafe because erosion as detailed in our Cathedral Bluffs post has undercut the cliff edge and the sand could collapse at any time. Unfortunately, some of the best shots require getting closer to the edge.  Toward the west end of the park there is a small, informal trail that leads down the bluffs.  It is hard packed and has good foot holds but looks like it could be a hazard when wet or icy.  Using this trail you can descend to the beach.  This will let you turn the walk into a loop so you don’t have to double back.

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When you reach the bottom of the path you’ll find sandy beach running off in both directions.  Be careful which one you choose because turning to your right and heading west will bring you to an unposted nude beach.

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Just to your right at the bottom of the bluffs is a large shelter constructed out of branches lashed together.  One section has been covered with a tarp to provide shelter when the rain begins.

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This collapsing tower of sand is the same one seen from the top of the bluffs in the cover photo.

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In several places there are large boulders in the sand part way down the embankment.  These are inconsistent with the formation of the sand bluffs as described in Sand Castles.  Sand laid down in an inland sea shouldn’t have boulders in it.  These boulders are formally referred to as glacial erratic.  Erratics are stones of various sizes that are different in composition from the stone in the area in which they are found.  These stones have been picked up by glaciers and are often carried great distances before they are deposited by retreating ice.  This is commonly seen in river beds which flow through shale but contain granite boulders.  The boulders along the bluffs are only found in the soil layer on top of the sand and they make their way to the bottom as the sand erodes away underneath of them.  There are plenty of these boulders of various sizes along the beach as seen in the picture below.

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Above the sand is a layer of soil which is full of various plants that grow in the meadows of the formerly cleared fields that were once settlers land grants.  The roots of these plants hold the soil together and provide a little mat that sticks out over the edge of the bluffs where the sand has eroded away beneath it.  This has become home to a colony of swallows whose nesting holes dot the edge of the bluffs.

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Following the beach will bring you back to where there is a pathway that leads back up through a small ravine to the meadow at the top of the hill.

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East Point park marks the eastern end of the Scarborough Bluffs which run from Highland Creek to Victoria Park Avenue, a san of 15 kilometers.

Google Maps: East Point Park

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Gates Gully Scarborough

Saturday May 7, 2016

Gates Gully runs from Kingston Road to Lake Ontario and provides one of the few places where there is access down the side of the Scarborough Bluffs.  Over the years it has been home to natives, smugglers, soldiers and rebels.  The Bellamy Ravine Creek flows through the bottom of the ravine where it makes a 90 meter drop from the table lands to the lake. The picture below shows the ravine where it starts at Kingston Road.  The ravine provided a gentle enough grade to bring goods from the lake shore up to Kingston Road via carts and so a community developed at this point.  Jonathan Gates built an tavern and the ravine became known as Gates Gully.

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The Scarborough Bluffs were exposed when Glacial Lake Iroquois suddenly drained about 12,200 years ago.  The change in climate caused the natives to modify their hunting and gathering practices and new tools were invented.  Scientists call this period the Archaic Period and the early portion ran from 10,000 to 8,000 years ago.  Artifacts have been found in the ravine from this time period indicating that the natives were using it as an access to the lake shortly after the end of the ice age.  The ravine has changed a lot over the years from both land filling and erosion.  The west side of the ravine has a set of stairs that used to lead to the ravine floor but now the steps slant at an odd angle and then end in loose sand and mud hiding under a layer of dead leaves.

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On April 27, 1813 the Americans attacked Fort York and captured it from the British.  When General Sheaffe determined that the Battle of York was lost he ordered the army to retreat to Kingston, which they did, using Kingston Road.  Legend has it that some of the soldiers hid the money they were carrying in the gully.  Treasure hunters have been seeking it for the past two hundred years and if it ever existed, it is apparently still there.  One of the beautiful things about spring time is the fact that there are new flowers in the woods almost every day.  The Scilla provides a splash of blue to the forest floor but is not native.

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The ravine is a migratory route for over 100 species of birds.  The woods were alive with the sounds of bird calls on this sunny morning.  The wetlands are now under the protection of the male red-winged blackbirds.  They have started their usual tactics of swooping near your head to let you know that you are too close to the nest.  Bright red male cardinals were everywhere singing their songs to attract the less colourful females.  The picture below shows a female cardinal who was playing hard to get with a couple of males.

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Smugglers found it easy to bring goods from the United States into Canada through Gates Gully.  This practice was prominent in the 1830’s as merchants sought to avoid paying import taxes.  Gates Tavern became famous for the part it played in the Rebellion of 1837. When William Lyon McKenzie started to rally his rebel forces at Montomery’s Tavern on the night of Dec. 5, 1837 the Scarborough militia started to gather at Gates Tavern. Ironically, it is said that McKenzie hid for awhile at the Annis home, one of the first settlers in the area of Gates Gully and the property just to the east.  On August 3, 1915 the steamship Alexandria was wrecked near the entrance to the gully.  The Alexandria was built in 1866 and served both as a passenger ship and a cargo ship.  On this night it was bringing 300 tons of beans and tomatoes when it was blown too close to the shore and was grounded.  All passengers were brought to safety and led up the bluffs through Gates Gully.  The hull of the steam remains in the lake 100 years later, just to the east of the gully.  The archive picture below shows the wrecked ship.

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As you reach the bottom of the ravine you find a steel sculpture named Passage. Designed to look like the rib cage of both a fish and a canoe, it commemorates one of the first people who took up residence on the edge of the bluffs.  In 1939 Doris McCarthy purchased 12 acres on the top of the bluffs on the west side of Gates Gully.  Doris became a famous Canadian painter and her mother dubbed her home on the ravine as Fool’s Paradise because she thought the purchase was too extravagant.

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Fools Paradise stands on top of the bluffs, just out of site in this picture.  To commemorate the life and work of Doris McCarthy the trail through Gates Gully has been named after her.

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Following Doris McCarthy’s lead, other people came to settle on the top of the bluffs.  The section of bluffs to the west of Gates Gully are on the former McCowan estate, after whom McCowan Road is named.  The bluffs are eroding every year and many homes that were built too close to the edge have already fallen over.  The picture below, and the cover photo, show a home that has been slowly being torn apart as the sand disappears from beneath it.  The sand embankment below the former house is now filled with wood scraps, doors and tiles.

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The image below from Google Earth was taken on May 22, 2015 and the house can be seen near the red arrow.  It appears that about half of the house was standing a year ago, but there isn’t very much left any more.

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In 1986 it was decided to initiate erosion control in Gates Gully and along the beach in front.  The shore was lined with stone and break waters were built extending into the lake in a manner similar to the Leslie Street Spit.  The photo below was taken from the end of one of these erosion control forms.

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After climbing to the top of the bluffs you are treated to an amazing view of the lake and the cliff faces.  Sylvan Park is on the top of the bluffs on the east side of Gates Gully and can be seen on in the distance in the picture below.  This park is on the former Annis property.

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This downy woodpecker was one of several that was looking for lunch in Sylvan Park.  It prefers beetles and ants but will eat suet at back yard feeders as well.

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Meadowcliffe Drive on the top of the bluffs leads to the site of Fool’s Paradise.  It is on private property but a historic marker is placed on the end of the driveway.

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Google maps link: Gates Gully

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Guildwood Park

Sunday April 19, 2015

I went to Guildwood park because the second oldest house in Toronto is preserved here.  I found the house and a whole lot more.  I parked in the parking lot of the former Guild Inn and went for a walk in the cool sunshine.

In 1795 Augustus Jones, who had surveyed Yonge Street, was commissioned to survey Scarborough.  It is said that Jones built the log cabin on the property for his crew to live in during the work but records show that his men lived in tents at this time.  Regardless of the details it is generally accepted that this is the oldest house in Scarborough and the second oldest in Toronto.

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The property was originally granted to William Osterhout in 1805.  Over the next 100 years a series of owners lived on the property.  In 1914 Colonel Harold C. Bickford built his country estate on 40 acres of land with a view over lake Ontario.  His 33 bedroom mansion, known as Ranelagh Park, is featured in the cover photo.  Bickford fought in the Boer war, was a Brigadier General in the First World War and then led anti-Bolshevic forces in Russia following the war.  He and his family enjoyed the view from atop the Scarborough Bluffs for only a few years before the house was sold in 1921 for use by an order of Catholic Missionaries.  Over the next ten years it also served as a home for a wealthy business man and finally it sat empty for a couple of years.

In 1932 Rosa and Spencer Clark took over the property and started the Guild of All Arts.  Under their management the property was expanded with additions to the house being made throughout the 1930’s and 1940’s.  A 6 story hotel tower was added in 1965 to accommodate all the people who were visiting the artist colony.  The tower sat empty from 2001 until 2009 when it was demolished.  The picture below shows the sprawling mansion as it looks today with all of its additions.

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In 1940 a sculpture studio was built.  Various artist worked here over the years including Dorsey James who created the Norse carvings on the door and along the roof line in 1970.

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The Guild sits on top of the Scarborough Bluffs with beautiful views out over the lake.

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During World War II the property was operated by the Women’s Royal Navy Service.  In 1947 it was returned to the Clarks who picked up where they had left off.  They became concerned that much of the late 19th and early 20th century artwork that decorated buildings in Toronto was being destroyed to make way for new development.  They started to collect or buy interesting parts of demolished buildings and move them to the Guild Inn property where they had them re-assembled.  Today there are parts of over 30 buildings on display on the grounds.

The four Corinthian columns in the picture below stood at the entrance to the Banker’s Bond Building at 60 King Street West.  The Banker’s Bond building was constructed in 1920 and demolished in 1973.

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The building originally looked like this.  The street address sign stood over the doorway but was placed in the middle when the columns were put back together.

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The Bank of Toronto stood on the south west corner of King and Bay streets from 1912 to 1966. The bank was founded in 1857 by George Gooderham, son of William Gooderham who owned Gooderham and Worts distillery in Toronto.  The bank merged with The Dominion Bank on Feb. 1, 1955 to form the Toronto Dominion Bank.  The columns in Guildwood Park have been set up in a different configuration than the original building.  The three arched entrances have been split up and placed on three sides of the monument.

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The Bank of Toronto building in 1915.  The three arches were located side by side at the entrance to the bank.

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The Canadian Bank of Commerce has stood on the north west corner of Yonge and Bloor for over a century.  This ornate date stone was rescued from the 1899 building.  It was removed in 1972 to make way for the new 34 story tower that CIBC built at Two Bloor West.

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The building as it appeared in 1922.

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The Temple Building was constructed in 1896 on the corner of Bay and Richmond Streets.  It was built as the international headquarters for the Independent Order of Foresters who claim to have originated in the 14th century in England as a friendly society caring for the sick.  I love the horses head on the top of this piece.

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At 12 stories it was the tallest building in the city upon completion.  It was demolished in 1970.

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The Royal Conservatory of Music was founded in 1886 as the Toronto Conservatory of Music. Their building at College Street and University Avenue was built in 1897 and demolished in 1968.

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A trail winds it’s way down the hill to where an old construction road leads to the edge of Lake Ontario.  It practically cries out to be explored.  Perhaps another time.

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Today the Guild Inn sits empty once again.  The signs in the window declare it to be a hazard due to asbestos and mold.  It’s future is in question.  Will it get cleaned up or demolished?

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