scarborough bluffs

People trapped on the Scarborough Bluffs might soon need to pay for their own rescue

Despite ample signage, no trespassing tape, and the possibility of a hefty $5,000 fine, Torontonians continue to venture out to the edge of the Scarborough Bluffs (which is, to their credit, an undeniably Instagram-worthy photo op).

Ward 24 Scarborough-Guildwood Councillor Paul Ainslie is presenting a new motion to enact more severe penalties for Bluffs trespassers at the Toronto economic and community development committee meeting this Wednesday; a motion that would see people having to pay for their own rescue, should they get trapped.

Councillor Ainslie says that his main concern is not only public safety, but the number of emergency vehicles that have to be dispatched for a rescue — eight fire trucks, on average.

"Firefighters say that every minute they’re delayed from a 911 call about a stroke or heart attack is the difference between saving somebody’s life and them losing it," he says.

"We need a more appropriate system so people understand that not only have they disobeyed the law, but what the implications of them disobeying the law could be on the community."

Toronto Mayor John Tory hinted at the same idea of billing people for emergency services costs they incur for such misadventures earlier this year after two people had to be rescued by firefighters in May.

Two more wanderers called 911 to be saved after they got stuck on the cliffs in July, and there was that time last September that two residents stranded on the Bluffs tied up eight fire trucks for three hours.

The City of Toronto started the hashtag #dontgetstuckonthebluffs in June, tweeting a number of stats about Bluffs rescues, like the fact that 2018 saw 16 rescue incidents that necessitated a total of 123 fire trucks, 25 ambulances and 382 hours of service.

So, if you ever find yourself considering jumping a fence or ignoring a sign for a more scenic view of the Bluffs, for the sake of yourself and everybody else, just don't.

Lead photo by

Aiza Margareth


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