Toronto's Rouge Beach is where to find the largest wetlands in the city and a long sandy beach
Rouge Beach in Toronto, between the marshy waters of the wetland and the long sandy beach that stretches westwards, is a place bursting with natural beauty.
And this southern end of Rouge National Urban Park is just as significant as it is beautiful as it's the largest remaining wetland and marsh in the city.
The Rouge River flows from Oak Ridges Moraine, which stretches over 150 kilometres from the Niagara Escarpment before the muddy waters transform into a deep blue once joined up with Lake Ontario here at Rouge Beach.
The Rouge River is known by the Iroquois as "katabokokonk" meaning "river of easy entrance. It was renamed by French explorers for the reddish colour of the waterway, which was caused by the melting of the red clay riverbanks.
The wetlands can be explored by walking the Rouge Marsh Trail along a flat boardwalk. It comes with a bench overlooking the water and likely a whole host of aquatic bird species.
Another popular way of getting around the murky waters that are sprinkled in patches of tall perennial grass is by canoeing or kayaking while others tend to enjoy it from the shoreline with a hook and line.
The mouth of the riverway boasts some of the best fishing around. Brown trout, rainbow trout, Coho salmon, Chinook salmon and even occasionally the extremely rare brook trout have all been caught by fishers in these waters.
Apparently not even the roar of the CN trains overhead is enough to scare them away. Just keep in mind a license is required to fish here.
If you're not much of a fisher, journeying around the breathtaking area is activity enough. A pedestrian bridge extends across the waterway parallel to the railway line, which gets you to the opposite side of the river.
On this side, you'll find a dirt pathway traversing around the marsh. Heading south after the bridge will afford you panoramic views of the picturesque lakefront.
To the east, the Waterfront Trail carries on to the Petticoat Creek Conservation Area in Pickering after about a 30-minute walk.
The rocky boulders situated at the end of the beach every so often provides up-close lookouts on the lake if you fancy a stop along the five-kilometre trek to East Point. The closer you get, the more the Bluffs will come into view.
Another popular option is setting up a blanket on the soft white sand back at the beach and swimming and sunning the day away. It's one of 10 swimmable beaches in the city so it can tend to get quite busy in the summer months.
Immediately to the east of the beach, you can also easily spot the Pickering Nuclear Power Plant.
Rouge Beach is a serene spot to spend the afternoon whether you're looking to catch some dinner, enjoy a paddle or an extensive hike along the waterfront, or just sit by the water and take in a pretty view.
Make sure to respect the park during your visit by picking up your trash to leave the area just as beautiful as you found it.
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