The Scarborough Bluffs are an escarpment in Scarborough, Ontario along the shoreline of Lake Ontario. The Bluffs run a distance of 14 km (8.7mi) from the foot of Victoria Park Avenue in the west to the mouth of Highland Creek in the east, reaching as high as as 65 metres (210 ft), which is the equivalent of seventeen storeys.
[2-Cove at Scarborough Bluffs]
The Scarborough Bluffs are part of a much larger formation known as the Iroquois Shoreline, most of which is located further inland, running between Kingston Road and Queen Street East, pausing over the Don Valley, and continuing on the north side of Davenport Road. The Iroquois Shoreline marks the extent of a prehistoric lake, Glacial Lake Iroquois, whose level was quite a bit higher than present-day Lake Ontario's. It shrank in size at the close of the last ice age.
[3- Scarborough Bluffs wildflowers]
In 1793 the name of the newly surveyed township north of the Bluffs was changed from Glasgow to Scarborough at the suggestion of Elizabeth Simcoe, the wife of John Graves Simcoe, the first lieutenant governor of Upper Canada. The Bluffs along Scarborough's Lake Ontario shores reminded her of the limestone cliffs in Scarborough in Yorkshire, England. In her diary, she wrote, “The [eastern] shore is extremely bold, and has the appearance of chalk cliffs, but I believe they are only white sand. They appeared so well that we talked of building a summer residence there and calling it Scarborough.”
[4- Limestone fossil]
In 1796, the first land patents were issued, and the township was opened to new settlement. Some time later, settlers from the British Isles and the United States began to hew out homes here in the forests.
[5-Bluffers Park and Marina]
A park created from fill has been built in the lake below the cliffside named Bluffer's Park consisting of 23.4 acres, which is accessible from the foot of Brimley Road.
At Bluffer’s Park there is a day use park located in the south-west section which includes picnic areas, walks, lookouts, boat launching ramps, visitors dockage, parking and washrooms.
[7-Bluffers Park Marina]
The north-east portion of the park provides secure berths for over 500 boats operated by the Bluffers Park Boating Federation.
[8-Boats Coming in to Bluffers Park]
The Scarborough Bluffs have been eroding at a rapid rate since cottages were built near the edge in the 1940s and this problem escalated in the 1970s when a six-metre chunk fell off the Bluffs. Homeowners knew that erosion would occur, but the waterfront views were enticing enough to settle there, which led to a housing boom along the Bluffs, which was responsible for the accelerating rate of erosion. Even as recently as summer 2008, chunks of the Bluffs had eroded to the point that one quarter of a cottage that the late actor and comedian Billy Van once owned is left hanging on the cliff; the cottage is deemed a safety hazard by Scarborough city officials as a result. To combat erosion, boulders acting as armour rocks and trees were placed at the base. However, to place these rocks and plant trees, a beach must be created to allow trucks to access the cliff base, which would involve levelling parts of the Bluffs, such as the aforementioned Bluffer's Park.
The Cathedral Bluffs has tall spires of eroded sandstone cliffs that rise more than 90 metres above Lake Ontario, the highest point along the Bluffs.
Research: scarboroughhistoricalsociety.com, Virtualwalk.ca, toronto.ca, wikipedia.
Photo Credits: -wikipedia, -bluetongue oz-CC=nc-sa-flickr, -Gavatron-CC=nc-nd-flickr, -John Vetterli CC=sa-flickr.
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