Rosetta McClain Gardens
5 Glen Everest Rd. (part of Scarborough Bluffs)
Land purchased in 1904; offered to the City in 1959; 23 acres
Known for: Serene with a beautiful view of Lake Ontario, Raptor watching (the birds!)
Part of Scarborough Bluffs, this fully-accessible garden park features special braille signage, raised planters, rose gardens and a trickling rock fountain surrounded by a pergola. It is a haven for flower connoisseurs, bird and butterfly watchers, and a beautiful spot with 100-year-old trees. Along its trail, it gives visitors a spectacular view of Lake Ontario from the top of Scarborough Bluffs. No wonder it is also a popular spot for wedding photos!
The Rumph farm, overlooking Scarborough Bluffs, was purchased in 1904-1905 by Thomas McDonald West. He and his wife Emma then divided the farm among their four children, Joseph McDonald, William Needham, Howard Thomas, and Rosetta.
Rosetta's husband, Robert Watson McClain, and her brother Joseph McDonald were avid gardeners. Through their landscaping efforts, the park developed into the beautiful spot that we enjoy today. When Rosetta died, her husband offered their property to the city of Toronto as parkland, dedicated to her memory.
The manicured 23-acre park is filled with rose gardens and a rock fountain surrounded by a pergola. In order to accommodate visitors of varied abilities, the gardens have specially designed signage, raised planters, varied texture pathways and ramps. It is a particularly quiet park because there are no dogs, picnics or bikes allowed.
The park is an ideal location for bird watchers. In fact, it is located along the migration route of various kinds of raptors, like Turkey Vultures, Osprey, Bald Eagles, Northern Harriers, Peregrine Falcons, various Hawks and Eagles.
The Friends of Rosetta McClain take an active role in the park, and maintain a website that documents raptor sightings. Last year, the count was about 4,200! They also record sightings of various species of butterflies and moths, and participate in Monarch Butterfly tagging.
Last year was a very exciting year for the Monarch "taggers". One of the tagged Monarch butterflies caught, analyzed, and then released at Rosetta McClain Gardens was found and photographed 2 months later in a natural protected area in Mexico.
The little butterfly would have flown around the Great Lakes, the Gulf of Mexico, and any other obstacles along the way to get there. It took 61 days to travel the 3,900 km to reach the city of Acambaro, a large Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve in Mexico.
In fact, so far, this year's 'Rosetta tagged' Monarchs have only been found and photographed in Acambaro, Mexico!