Scarborough Bluffs

The Scarborough Bluffs are an escarpment along the shoreline of Lake Ontario. They run 14 kilometers from the foot of Victoria Park Avenue in the west to the mouth of Highland Creek in the east, reaching as high as 65 meters. The escarpment continues westward inland, running between Kingston Road and Queen Street East, pausing over the Don Valley, and continuing on the north side of Davenport Road.

The layers of sand and clay exposed in these cliffs display a remarkable geological record of the last stages of the Great Ice Age. Unique in North America, they have attracted worldwide scientific interest. The first 46 metres of sediments contain fossil plants and animals that were deposited in a large river delta during the first advance of the Wisconsinan glacier some 70,000 years ago. They are covered by 61 metres of boulder clay and sand in alternating layers left by four subsequent advances and retreats of ice. The final withdrawal of the glacier occurred some 12,000 years ago.

The bluffs were given their name in 1793 by Lady Elizabeth Simcoe, wife of the first Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada. They reminded her of the limestone cliffs in Scarborough, England

About 15 years ago, I became aware of the Scarborough Bluffs’ photographic possibilities after viewing some images taken by a work colleague. Although I have lived in Toronto all my life, this area was alien to me until seeing these photographs. I attribute this myopic view due to being a west end resident and not making the effort to discover other parts of my city. After my initial visit, I continued returning to the Bluffs in all seasons to photograph this unique geological area.

The focus of this folio is primarily from the area around Bluffer’s Park.

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