May 18th, 2022
Toronto Waterfront Parks – A New Era

Q6. Which Toronto beach's name comes from the everyday household ingredient, Redpath Sugar? (P29)

Toronto Waterfront Parks – A New Era

Today, the section of Lake Ontario that includes Balmy Beach, Kew Beach, and Woodbine is series of linked waterfront parks known as the Eastern beaches. It takes about one and a half hours to walk the entire stretch. The name, however, is a bit misleading because there are so many new beaches and waterfront parks that have opened up over the past decade in Toronto, as well as ones under development through Waterfront Toronto.

Western Beaches

1-Marie Curtis Park

Marie Curtis Park is situated on both banks of the Etobicoke Creek where it flows into Lake Ontario. Native people frequently visited the area and named the creek Etobicoke for "place where the wild alders grow". The park is popular with families because of the kids’ play area, splash pond and supervised beach during the summer months.

Mimico Waterfront Park at the south end of Etobicoke was designed with sustainability and the native ecology as key considerations, with native plantings and small pockets of wetland habitat to encourage fish and wildlife. Being opened in phases, Mimico finally connects people to the water across a lakefront area that historically has lacked public access to the waterfront


You can swim at Sunnyside even though the water is not the best and the sand is a bit rocky, or enjoy the large outdoor Gus Ryder swimming pool. This area is a lovely place to stroll about on a summer evening because of the large expanse of grassy park, trees and the beautiful expanse of lake. There are also several bike trails north and south of the pool and you can often watch dragon boat races from here.

3-Marilyn Bell Park

Located just west of Exhibition Place, this park is a wonderful new green space at the heart of Toronto’s western beaches. Check out its multi-use trail, both paved and wooden promenades, seating and viewing platforms.

4-Martin Goodman Trail (Ontario Place)

In 2009, Waterfront Toronto opened a newly created stretch that links to the 56 kilometre Martin Goodman Trail. Designed by leading landscape architects the new 1.3 kilometre tree-lined stretch of the Martin Goodman Trail runs parallel to Lake Shore Boulevard. The trail is barrierfree, lit at night, and accommodates a wide range of recreational activities: biking, walking, strolling, etc.

Central Beaches

5-Hanlan's Point (Toronto Island)

A continuous waterfront park stretches across the Toronto Islands. The beach at Hanlan's Point, the original location of the Hanlan’s Amusement Park, is one of the few public locations in Canada where full nudity is permitted. There are two beaches here, including the “clothing optional” area, so be careful where you disrobe.


Harbourfront Centre offers cultural, educational and recreational activities from its 10 acre site in the heart of Toronto’s central waterfront. There are various parks along the waterfront. Check out Toronto Music Garden between Bathurst Street and Spadina! Each dance movement within Bach's Suite No. 1 in G Major for unaccompanied cello corresponds to a different section of the garden, e.g. “Sarabande”, a conifer grove in the shape of an arc.

7-HtO Park

This urban beach, located at 339 Queen’s Quay W. (Queen’s Quay W. and Rees St), faces the inner harbour with Toronto Islands in the distance. HtO is marketed by bright yellow umbrellas and Muskoka chairs. Two architectural firms created the design known as HtO. The name represents the fundamental changes that will take place in the relationship between Toronto and the waterfront.

8-Sugar Beach

Now opened at the foot of Jarvis on Queens Quay East, the design of the Sugar Beach park was inspired by its existing neighbour: the Redpath Sugar Refinery. Although you can't swim at Sugar Beach yet, you can sit under one of the signature pink umbrellas and if you’re lucky, watch ships dock at Redpath Sugar while you're enjoying your day.

9-Sherbourne Common

Coming this fall is Sherbourne Common. It will cover two city blocks from the water’s edge to Lake Shore Boulevard and stretch as far as Queens Quay. Plans for this beautiful green space include features such as an urban river, a pond that can be used as a skating rink in the winter, and a pavilion for festivals and concerts. Sherbourne Common also will be the first park in Canada to integrate an ultraviolet treatment facility for neighbourhood-wide stormwater treatment into its design.


10-Cherry Beach

Cherry Beach is the classic “surfboarding” playground with ice cream trucks and bikini-clad sun bathers. It’s also a popular place to fly a kite (or make out in a car after dark!) There are many barbecue pits in the wooded area to the north where families and couples gather for picnics. Note the 1930s lifesaving station!

11-Tommy Thompson Park

This unique urban wilderness is just minutes from downtown, located on a man-made peninsula known as the Leslie Street Spit. The park is one of the largest existing natural habitat on the Toronto waterfront, with wildflower meadows, cottonwood forests, coastal marshes, cobble beaches and sand dunes. Wildlife, especially birds, flourish at the park, and Monarch butterflies often rest here before their migration trip over the lake.

12-Ashbridge’s Bay Park.

Ashbridge’s Bay Park is directly south of Woodbine Park, a great place to play beach volleyball or to walk, bike, or rollerblade on the paved paths or wooden boardwalk. There are plenty of scenic lookouts over Lake Ontario. The park offers expansive beaches; public boat launch ramps, a marina and moorings; fishing; and a waterfowl habitat.

13-Woodbine Park.

Woodbine (linked to Balmy Beach and Kew Beach Parks) was home to the Woodbine Racetrack for almost 120 years until its closure in 1993. The park features wetlands, naturalized meadows, gardens, and an amphitheatre. Woodbine is well known as one of Toronto’s best places to play beach volleyball, or swim in an Olympic sized swimming pool. It is also the busiest of the “eastern beaches”.

14-Bluffer's Park

At the base of one of the steepest hills in the city is one of its prettiest parks. Beautiful views and well kept hiking trails, Bluffer’s Park is the perfect place to get away within the city. There’s also a busy marina here for those visiting by water. At the eastern edge of the park check out the Rosetta McClain Gardens located off Kingston Road at Glen Everest Road. These beautiful formal gardens are set among the ruins of the original farm house, include a rock fountain and spectacular views.

15-Rouge Park

Just east of Toronto, where the Rouge River meets Lake Ontario, there's a sandy beach and a wetland full of wildlife. On a clear day you can see Pickering while you stroll on the boardwalk. Urban “fishermen” can fish on the river here, or canoe on the marshes, considered the best and biggest in Toronto.

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