Bluffer Park and Marina

There's no place better to be on a super hot day than near the water. Toronto has many bodies of water that can help you and your dog beat the heat this summer. One of the most popular places is Bluffers Beach in Scarborough on Lake Ontario.

Bluffers Park

Next to the beach is a marina and park. It is possible to hike the entire area in one day, but why not visit multiple times?

A previous blog entry, Bluffers Beach in Summer, gave details on visiting the large beach on the east side. This blog post is about the park instead of the beach. 

There is a small beach on this hike, but on a holiday or weekend, this might fill up fast. People like to arrive early with food and shelter to stay the day. 


My suggested route is 4 km at the most and starts in the parking lot at the southern end of Brimley Road,  furthest to the right (west). 

Map of a hike in Bluffers Park with a stop at the marina for a snack


Parking is free during weekdays until 5 pm, but you must pay on weekends, holidays and evenings.

Parking in Bluffers Park is free before 5 on weekdays

Pay to park in Bluffers Park on weekends, holidays, and evenings.

Suggested Loop

Once you've parked, you'll see storage buildings designed to look similar to the bluffs. 

Storage buildings in Bluffers Park

Use the path on the right, closest to the bluffs.

Trail next to the bluffs in Bluffers Park


The trails in this section do not provide a access to the top of the Bluffs. It is unwise to climb the bluffs, and you'll see many signs to warn of the danger. A future blog entry will cover the details of hiking the meadows above the Bluffers Park.

Signs warning of the danger of climbing the bluffs

Visit the blog entry,  Gates Gully and the Doris McCarthy trail, to learn about a path you can hike from the top of the bluffs to a rocky beach.

Dunker's Flow Balancing System

You'll cross a stream with water flowing from the top of the bluffs. On your left, you'll see a series of five ponds separated by docks and fenced off areas. This system was invented by Karl Dunkers of Sweden and helps reduce the effects of pollution from runoff water flowing from sewers before entering Lake Ontario.

Sign for the Dunker's Flow System in Bluffers Park

Docks over the ponds in Bluffers Park

The ponds are rich with life in the form of small animals like mink, birds of all kinds, and plants such as water lilies.

Mink under the dock in Bluffers Park

Yelllow warbler in Bluffers Park

Water lily in Bluffers Park

Small Beach

The path takes you to a small beach that is popular with families and photographers.

Small beach in Bluffers Park

Off-Leash Opportunities

There isn't an official off-leash area in the park, so if the beach is empty, you may be safe to let your dog off-leash. Consider bringing a Flexi-leash or a long leash so you can have control of your dog while as he or she swims in the lake. 

Small beach in Bluffers Park

At the end of the beach, walk across the branches to continue the walk, or turn back and cross on the docks.

Dog crossing branches from beach to park in Bluffers Park

The choice will be natural for your dog, but if you don't want to risk falling into the cold water, walk back to access the docks.

Take the trail along the pond from the beach to get to the docks in Bluffers Park

The Docks

These docks separate the five ponds that make up the Dunker's Flow System. Walking along the docks is a highlight of this hike. A few of the docks seem to be in rough shape, but luckily they are behind locked gates. Enjoy the flowers and birds in the area.

Docks over the ponds in Bluffers Park

Park Area

The dock will lead you to the park that features picnic tables, large rocks, Muskoka chairs, benches, and BBQs. 

Bluffers Park

Lucy's already learned that she has to model for me at this point and jumps up on the rocks and poses.

Black dog posing in front of Bluffs in Bluffers Park

Sign for Bluffers Park

Follow the trail along the shore. This is a deeper part of Lake Ontario and attracts boaters, SUPpers, and, when the wind is strong,  even surfers.

Water sports are popular in Bluffers Park

Bluffers Park is made up of two peninsulas. You've just walked through the first one called "Bluff's Park Lookout". The second one is currently under construction, so instead, head over to the marina. 

Map of Bluffers Park

Boat Launch

The boat launch area is filled with water birds. Often there are swans as well as geese and ducks.

Swans at the boat launch in Bluffers Park

Duck in the boat launch in Bluffers Park

Public Washrooms

During the pandemic lockdown, many of the city public washrooms were closed. They seem to be open for the summer, and you'll pass by on your way to the marina.


Part of the marina is open to the public, including the snack bar and restaurant. There is a separate access point and parking lot for members. 

Sign to the Bluffers Park Marina

Marina Snack Bar and Restaurant

After walking the beach and park, visit the restaurant or snack bar for a bite to eat. The snack bar is definitely open with Phase 2 of the Toronto opening after COVID. There are a few picnic tables available. 

The Bluffers Restaurant and Grill had to close during the pandemic, so call ahead to see if they are open if you have plans to eat a full meal during your visit.

Bluffers Restaurant and Gill in Bluffers Park

Snack bar in Bluffers Park


The history of the Toronto shoreline is interesting. My go-to-place for reading about Toronto history is the GTA Hiking Blog. Read the entry Sand Castles - Scarborough Bluffs to learn how this area got its name, the amount of erosion that occurs each year, and more about the Dunker's Flow Water System.

Follow us on Instagram

Enjoy the beach and share your Instagram photos with us by tagging @hikingtoronto or #hikingtorontowithlucy

Watch for future posts to extend your hike in this fabulous park.


  1. This was super I formative! I've lived in Toronto for over 50 years and mostly in the east end and had no idea we had such a paradise at our doorsteps. Thank you!!!

    1. Thanks for your comment! It makes me very happy that you enjoyed the blog and the hike. I hope to see you on one of our hikes.


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