badlands scramble toronto

New Toronto public space designed to look like Ontario's famous Cheltenham Badlands

A visit to the Cheltenham Badlands is a quintessential Ontario road trip experience, but you'll soon be able to experience a version of the beloved landmark without ever leaving Toronto.

Toronto residents unwilling or unable to make the trek out to the popular destination in Caledon will be able to enjoy a new park in 2025, featuring a climbable area designed to look like the eroded shale formation that draws throngs of visitors every summer and fall.

Part of the innovative three-acre public space on the western edge of Villiers Island, this new 1,600-square-metre feature will be known as the 'badlands scramble.'

As the name suggests, the area is themed to not only look like the rolling fingers of eroded Queenston shale, but also invite climbing activity, much in the way that the actual Cheltenham Badlands did before access was restricted to a viewing platform in 2015.

The feature will include three tiers of wavy terrain surrounded by planting beds and a pathway, with each level divided by flat sections of stone pavement. The scramble is set to offer an interactive water feature that makes use of the site's winding slopes.

Construction of the badlands scramble is already well underway, and Waterfront Toronto shared progress images this week showing the complex process involved in recreating this iconic landscape 50 kilometres away.

badlands scramble toronto

The work behind this artificial landform's recreation involves constructing outlines built of wood and steel and then spraying them over with shotcrete to form a rock-like surface.

badlands scramble toronto

In the spirit of measuring twice and cutting once, crews have assembled a mock-up of the badlands scramble, used to test techniques and materials in the field before applying them to the final product.

This interactive area, themed after a beloved Ontario landmark, is just one of many features that will draw crowds to Villiers Island in summer 2025.

Photos by

Waterfront Toronto


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