Birchcliffe-Cliffside

R.C. Harris Water Treatment Plant
2701 Queen Street East
*Note: Private property. Please observe the building from the street only. The R.C. Harris Water Treatment Plant was named after Roland Caldwell Harris, Toronto's Commissioner of Public Works from 1912 to 1945. Harris is responsible for many of the major infrastructure projects in Toronto, including the Bloor Street Viaduct in addition to this water treatment plant. Harris was known for his fascination of striking architecture, so through the Public Works Department the plant was commissioned and designed in the Art Deco style that was popular at the time. It was built in phases throughout the 1930s and became operational in 1941. A wing was added to its filtration building in the 1950s. Now one of four water treatment plants in the city, this is the is the largest, producing more than 120,000 million litres of water annually, which is 30% of Toronto's drinking water. Dubbed The Palace of Purification, the R.C. Harris is the largest collection of Art Deco buildings in Toronto. The building is now only periodically open to the public for tours and is also featured in numerous TV shows and films, including 'Killjoys', 'Flashpoint', 'Robocop', 'The Pretender' and 'Strange Brew'.

Mann Coach House
1253 Kingston Road
*Note: Private property. Please observe the house from the street only. Mann Coach House was a gate house to the north of Donald Mann's massive, 20+ room house. While the Mann house burned down in the 1930s, the gatehouse remains and is in use to this day. Donald Mann was a Canadian railway contractor and entrepreneur. Partnering with William Mackenzie, he built railway lines in western Canada, Maine, Brazil, and China. In 1895, Mann and Mackenzie began purchasing and building the lines in western Canada which would later become the Canadian Northern Railway (CNoR), a system that would stretch from Vancouver Island to Cape Breton Island and form Canada's second transcontinental railway system.

Heritage Trail by Mural Routes and Toronto Public Library: Taylor Memorial Branch
1445 Kingston Road
This is the first of 18 murals along Kingston Road stretching from Warden Avenue to Midland Avenue forming Heritage Trail, Mural Routes' first route in Canada. Mural Routes is responsible for the majority of mural projects in Scarborough, including most of those featured on this tour. Most works on this route were painted with the help of local high school students and youth groups. Mural Routes was started in 1990 as a public art project of Scarborough Arts. The project aimed to celebrate the heritage of Scarborough, and to place art in everyday community spaces, to put art in front of people as they went about their daily business. Across the street at 1440 Kingston Road is Toronto Public Library's Taylor Memorial branch. The branch first opened in 1962 after Mr. F. Taylor offered his house to the library as a memorial to his wife. Though the house was demolished and rebuilt in 1984, a large stained glass window called 'Blue Bird of Happiness' and a fireplace were saved from the original house to be included in the new branch.

DeAnne Lamirande Warden Underpass Mural
Along the Warden underpass between Danforth Avenue and Hollis Avenue
The Warden Underpass Mural provides a visual history of Scarborough. Painted in 2012 and 2013 with DeAnne Lamirande as Lead Artist, this mural fills the underpass on Warden Avenue south of Danforth Road. The west wall shows the iconic Scarborough Bluffs and Elizabeth Simcoe, the woman who gave Scarborough its name, while the east wall depicts the historic Bell Estate. Birch trees fill the south centre column and oak trees fill the north centre column, a symbolic joining of the Birch Cliff neighbourhood and Oakridge community.

Former Scarborough Council Chambers
1660 Kingston Road
*Note: Private property. Please observe the building from the street only. Scarborough Council had meetings on the second storey of this building from 1922 to the late 1940s, when Scarborough was still incorporated as a township. It was soon after that Scarborough became a part of Metropolitan Toronto and then later amalgamated into the City of Toronto in 1998. This building serves as a reminder that from the mid-nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth century, Scarborough was a separate municipality from the City of Toronto with its own representatives and council. Today, Scarborough Community Council, comprising of Toronto City Councillors in Scarborough wards, meets at the Scarborough Civic Centre.

Scarborough Arts / Bluffs Gallery/ Mural Routes
1859 Kingston Road
Scarborough Arts operates the Bluffs Gallery, an intimate community space that exhibits works by local artists, collectives, and partner organizations, in its own headquarters. The Bluffs Gallery also hosts group and solo exhibitions and is a space for community events and activities. Scarborough Arts offers a wide variety of programming for people of all ages in all parts of Scarborough. One of their programs is the life-sized travelling Scarborough sign. It is a community-developed public art piece that travels to different parts of Scarborough to showcase community arts projects by local artists, collectives, and residents. Scarborough Arts also shares it's space with Mural Routes.

Rosetta McClain Gardens
5 Glen Everest Road
Thomas McDonald West purchased the 16.2 hectare Rumph farm overlooking the Scarborough Bluffs in 1904-1905. He and his wife, Emma, then divided it among their four children, which included their daughter Rosetta. Rosetta died in December 1940 and in 1959 her husband Robert Watson McClain donated their property (about four hectares) to the City of Toronto in her memory. In 1977, this land was combined with portions of two of her brothers' properties. A further parcel from her last brothers' holdings was added in 1985, creating a 7.5 hectare park. The shell of an old pine house reminds park visitors that people once farmed this property with the spectacular view of the Scarborough Bluffs. The now fully-accessible garden park features special braille signage and wide paths built with different textures to distinguish sections of the gardens. It also features raised planters, rose gardens and a rock fountain surrounded by a pergola and spectacular views of Lake Ontario from the top of Scarborough Bluffs. No dogs are allowed (service animals are exempt).

Birchmount Firehall & Scarborough Fire Museum
351 Birchmount Road
This was the first firehall to be built in Scarborough. It was built in 1925, housing the township's first full-time fire department and the first police department. It was also used as the township's jail for a number of years. Guided tours can be booked upon request.

Variety Village
3701 Danforth Avenue
This sports, health and fitness centre is open to all members of the community. A central focus of Variety Village is to help young people with disabilities and those who face developmental barriers through integrated sports, life skills programs and other activities. A Toronto-based Variety Club opened Variety Village over 65 years ago as a vocational and training school and residence for youth. Then in 1981, Variety Village reopened its doors as a world-class indoor sports facility with adapted physical education, swim classes, track and field, basketball court, three-tiered Children in Motion activity program and more.

Scarborough War Memorial
Located in the mid-road green space west of Highview Avenue between Danforth Avenue and Kingston Road
The Scarborough War Memorial was erected in 1931 to honour soldiers fallen during the First World War. Subsequent memorial plaques were added to honour those who fought in the Second World War and the Korean War. It is constructed of limestone and bronze. The memorial is one of the oldest pieces of public art in the south Scarborough area.

Explore Birchcliffe-Cliffside

Now is the time for residents to experience all that tourists have been raving about for years. Discover shops, stops, places and spaces on city main streets. Stay curious, Toronto.

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Don't Miss

Artists from various disciplines present messages of hope and resilience throughout the city in the form of text-based visual art installations.
Kate Nankervis
Oakridge Park
3459 Danforth Ave, Scarborough, ON M1L 1C9

Check out main street storefront art installations, in the neighbourhood or nearby, created by Local Arts Organizations and Business Improvement Areas across the City.

Painting Icon StrollTO Guided Walks:

On select weekend dates, join guided walks and discover the diverse histories and cultural significance behind neighbourhood landmarks and attractions.
Learn more and register.

We hope that you enjoyed exploring this Toronto neighbourhood and found many other points of interest along the way. While StrollTO highlights some of the 'hidden gems' in the neighbourhood, there may be others that could be included in a future edition. Would you like to share a point of interest that you discovered in the neighbourhood? Email us at [email protected].

Neighbourhood Stroll

Birchcliffe-Cliffside is a community in southwest Scarborough, along Lake Ontario's beautiful shoreline. This mostly residential neighbourhood offers public art that speaks to the history of the area, as well as plenty of parks and schools. A variety of small shops and restaurants are dotted along Kingston Road, which runs through the heart of the neighbourhood.

Main Streets: Kingston Road, Victoria Park Avenue, Warden Avenue, Birchmount Road and Midland Avenue
  1. R.C. Harris Water Treatment Plant
    2701 Queen Street East
    *Note: Private property. Please observe the building from the street only. The R.C. Harris Water Treatment Plant was named after Roland Caldwell Harris, Toronto's Commissioner of Public Works from 1912 to 1945. Harris is responsible for many of the major infrastructure projects in Toronto, including the Bloor Street Viaduct in addition to this water treatment plant. Harris was known for his fascination of striking architecture, so through the Public Works Department the plant was commissioned and designed in the Art Deco style that was popular at the time. It was built in phases throughout the 1930s and became operational in 1941. A wing was added to its filtration building in the 1950s. Now one of four water treatment plants in the city, this is the is the largest, producing more than 120,000 million litres of water annually, which is 30% of Toronto's drinking water. Dubbed The Palace of Purification, the R.C. Harris is the largest collection of Art Deco buildings in Toronto. The building is now only periodically open to the public for tours and is also featured in numerous TV shows and films, including 'Killjoys', 'Flashpoint', 'Robocop', 'The Pretender' and 'Strange Brew'.
  2. Mann Coach House
    1253 Kingston Road
    *Note: Private property. Please observe the house from the street only. Mann Coach House was a gate house to the north of Donald Mann's massive, 20+ room house. While the Mann house burned down in the 1930s, the gatehouse remains and is in use to this day. Donald Mann was a Canadian railway contractor and entrepreneur. Partnering with William Mackenzie, he built railway lines in western Canada, Maine, Brazil, and China. In 1895, Mann and Mackenzie began purchasing and building the lines in western Canada which would later become the Canadian Northern Railway (CNoR), a system that would stretch from Vancouver Island to Cape Breton Island and form Canada's second transcontinental railway system.
  3. Heritage Trail by Mural Routes and Toronto Public Library: Taylor Memorial Branch
    1445 Kingston Road
    This is the first of 18 murals along Kingston Road stretching from Warden Avenue to Midland Avenue forming Heritage Trail, Mural Routes' first route in Canada. Mural Routes is responsible for the majority of mural projects in Scarborough, including most of those featured on this tour. Most works on this route were painted with the help of local high school students and youth groups. Mural Routes was started in 1990 as a public art project of Scarborough Arts. The project aimed to celebrate the heritage of Scarborough, and to place art in everyday community spaces, to put art in front of people as they went about their daily business. Across the street at 1440 Kingston Road is Toronto Public Library's Taylor Memorial branch. The branch first opened in 1962 after Mr. F. Taylor offered his house to the library as a memorial to his wife. Though the house was demolished and rebuilt in 1984, a large stained glass window called 'Blue Bird of Happiness' and a fireplace were saved from the original house to be included in the new branch.
  4. DeAnne Lamirande Warden Underpass Mural
    Along the Warden underpass between Danforth Avenue and Hollis Avenue
    The Warden Underpass Mural provides a visual history of Scarborough. Painted in 2012 and 2013 with DeAnne Lamirande as Lead Artist, this mural fills the underpass on Warden Avenue south of Danforth Road. The west wall shows the iconic Scarborough Bluffs and Elizabeth Simcoe, the woman who gave Scarborough its name, while the east wall depicts the historic Bell Estate. Birch trees fill the south centre column and oak trees fill the north centre column, a symbolic joining of the Birch Cliff neighbourhood and Oakridge community.
  5. Former Scarborough Council Chambers
    1660 Kingston Road
    *Note: Private property. Please observe the building from the street only. Scarborough Council had meetings on the second storey of this building from 1922 to the late 1940s, when Scarborough was still incorporated as a township. It was soon after that Scarborough became a part of Metropolitan Toronto and then later amalgamated into the City of Toronto in 1998. This building serves as a reminder that from the mid-nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth century, Scarborough was a separate municipality from the City of Toronto with its own representatives and council. Today, Scarborough Community Council, comprising of Toronto City Councillors in Scarborough wards, meets at the Scarborough Civic Centre.
  6. Scarborough Arts / Bluffs Gallery/ Mural Routes
    1859 Kingston Road
    Scarborough Arts operates the Bluffs Gallery, an intimate community space that exhibits works by local artists, collectives, and partner organizations, in its own headquarters. The Bluffs Gallery also hosts group and solo exhibitions and is a space for community events and activities. Scarborough Arts offers a wide variety of programming for people of all ages in all parts of Scarborough. One of their programs is the life-sized travelling Scarborough sign. It is a community-developed public art piece that travels to different parts of Scarborough to showcase community arts projects by local artists, collectives, and residents. Scarborough Arts also shares it's space with Mural Routes.
  7. Rosetta McClain Gardens
    5 Glen Everest Road
    Thomas McDonald West purchased the 16.2 hectare Rumph farm overlooking the Scarborough Bluffs in 1904-1905. He and his wife, Emma, then divided it among their four children, which included their daughter Rosetta. Rosetta died in December 1940 and in 1959 her husband Robert Watson McClain donated their property (about four hectares) to the City of Toronto in her memory. In 1977, this land was combined with portions of two of her brothers' properties. A further parcel from her last brothers' holdings was added in 1985, creating a 7.5 hectare park. The shell of an old pine house reminds park visitors that people once farmed this property with the spectacular view of the Scarborough Bluffs. The now fully-accessible garden park features special braille signage and wide paths built with different textures to distinguish sections of the gardens. It also features raised planters, rose gardens and a rock fountain surrounded by a pergola and spectacular views of Lake Ontario from the top of Scarborough Bluffs. No dogs are allowed (service animals are exempt).
  8. Birchmount Firehall & Scarborough Fire Museum
    351 Birchmount Road
    This was the first firehall to be built in Scarborough. It was built in 1925, housing the township's first full-time fire department and the first police department. It was also used as the township's jail for a number of years. Guided tours can be booked upon request.
  9. Variety Village
    3701 Danforth Avenue
    This sports, health and fitness centre is open to all members of the community. A central focus of Variety Village is to help young people with disabilities and those who face developmental barriers through integrated sports, life skills programs and other activities. A Toronto-based Variety Club opened Variety Village over 65 years ago as a vocational and training school and residence for youth. Then in 1981, Variety Village reopened its doors as a world-class indoor sports facility with adapted physical education, swim classes, track and field, basketball court, three-tiered Children in Motion activity program and more.
  10. Scarborough War Memorial
    Located in the mid-road green space west of Highview Avenue between Danforth Avenue and Kingston Road
    The Scarborough War Memorial was erected in 1931 to honour soldiers fallen during the First World War. Subsequent memorial plaques were added to honour those who fought in the Second World War and the Korean War. It is constructed of limestone and bronze. The memorial is one of the oldest pieces of public art in the south Scarborough area.

Accessibility information: All points of interest are viewable from the street. Rosetta McClain Gardens is fully-accessible, featuring braille signage and wide paths built with different textures to distinguish each section of the garden.

Soundtracks of the City

From global superstars to local favourites and ones to watch, the Soundtracks of the City playlists all feature artists who have called Toronto home. Whether it’s a lyric about the neighborhood, an artist representing a cultural community, or a tie-in to the StrollTO itinerary itself, all the music reflects connections to an individual ward or the City as a whole.

Music was chosen based on an artist’s Spotify presence and each song’s broad appeal, as well as its associations with the cultures, languages and ethnicities that reflect Toronto’s neighborhoods and diverse music scene. Soundtracks of the City combines 425 songs that feature more than 500 different local artists or acts, showcasing songs in 23 different languages.