doris mccarthy trail

The Doris McCarthy Trail in Toronto comes with incredible views of the Scarborough Bluffs

Doris McCarthy Trail leads through Gates Gully or Bellamy Ravine Creek before hitting Lake Ontario and the side of the Scarborough Bluffs. 

doris mccarthy trail

The tree-lined trail that leads down to the Lake is beautiful in the wintertime, covered in snow. 

Extending from Ravine Drive, off Kingston Road, there’s also a large steel sculpture sitting where the trail meets the lakeshore. 

doris mccarthy trail

Passage is the second in a series of sculpture to mark ‘people and place’ in Canada by artist Marlene Hilton Moore. 

The structure, named Passage and evoking the ribs of a fish or canoe, was created by artist Marlene Hilton Moore in honour of famous Canadian painter, a prior resident of the Bluffs, and the trail’s namesake: Doris McCarthy

doris mccarthy trail

The sculpture signifies passage through life whether through the fish in the waters that shape this area or the passage of the canoe. 

McCarthy, who was best known for her landscape paintings, bought a 12-acre property overlooking the Scarborough Bluffs in 1939. 

Her mother called the property a “fool’s paradise” because she thought of the land as an extravagant purchase for a young art teacher. McCarthy embraced the title and the property continues to be known as Fool’s Paradise to this day. 

doris mccarthy trail

 The interior base where dates are placed simulates an architectural scale ruler whose style resembles the trillium and provincial flower. 

Before reaching the striking sculpture, the steep forested trail descends down toward the water for about 900 metres. 

doris mccarthy trail

The trail descends about 90 metres over the course of the 900-metre walk making for a fairly steep jaunt to the Lake. 

The pathway follows closely beside a creek for most of the way. 

doris mccarthy trail

Bellamy Creek runs beside the ravine trail for most of the way down to the Lake. 

Once you start getting closer to the Lake, the blue of the water starts peeking through the trees making for some incredible views. 

doris mccarthy trail

You'll be able to tell when you're getting close to the water as it can be seen through the trees about halfway through the descent. 

The trail splits off into two different directions once you hit the Lake. Bluffers Park and closeup views of the Bluffs are to the west. 

The area is actually one of the few spots that provide access down to the side of the eroding cliffs, providing visitors with the rare opportunity to enjoy a new angle of the Bluffs. 

doris mccarthy trail

Views of the Bluffs and Bluffer's Park are to the west, though there's no direct access to the park without getting wet. 

Alternatively, if you head east, the trail will take you along the water's edge to the headlands at the base of Sylvan Park. A section of the sunken steamship Alexandria can still be seen slightly poking out of the water in this direction. 

doris mccarthy trail

The rusted hulk of the steamship's boiler is still visible from the shoreline, just barely sticking out from the water. 

The one-hundred-year-old shipwreck has been there since severe storm conditions resulted in the steamer going under in 1915. 

doris mccarthy trail

The vessel was mostly used as a passenger steamer servicing towns along the north shore of Lake Ontario and occasionally making a run over to New York. 

Whichever direction you choose, there’ll be plenty of pathways, rocky shoreline, and views of Lake Ontario to enjoy.

doris mccarthy trail

Photos by

Hector Vasquez

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