Cliffcrest

Stinson's Shop (Scarborough Bluffs Refreshment Room)
171 Midland Avenue
The Scarborough Bluffs Refreshment Room, more commonly known as Stinson's Shop, is a Scarborough landmark. In the late nineteenth century, Cliffside (the area between Kingston Road and Lake Ontario) became a popular recreational destination. In response, commercial buildings were developed and transit lines were improved in the area. The Scarborough Bluffs Refreshment Room was opened by Albert Stinson in 1903. It received a heritage designation in 2008, as it is a rare surviving building connected to the recreational and transportation history of Scarborough and has a wood-frame structure, dormers and windows typical of the time. The building has since been restored to its original 1903 appearance. A local artisinal shop is located on the main floor, with private apartments above.

St. Augustine's Seminary
2661 Kingston Road
*Note: Private property. Please observe the seminary from the sidewalk only. In 1890, the idea was conceived to build a seminary, which would provide English-speaking priests to parishes throughout Canada. After various fundraising campaigns, construction of St. Augustine's Seminary was begun in 1910. Completed three years later and able to accommodate 100 students, the seminary was dedicated on August 28, 1913. St. Augustine's became not only the first seminary in English-speaking Canada but also the first institution of higher education in Scarborough. The building is in the Beaux Arts style with influences from the Renaissance Classical tradition.

Scarborough Bluffs
Scarborough Bluffs lookout in Bluffer's Park. West of Brimley Road South and the marina
The Scarborough Bluffs have been a shoreline in Toronto for about 13,000 years. 13,000 years ago, ancient Lake Iroquois formed when the St. Lawrence River became blocked by an ice sheet near the present day Thousand Islands. The ice sheet created a dam, which trapped water during the retreat of a melting glacier. Lake Iroquois was also fed by Early Lake Erie and Glacial Lake Algonquin (which Lake Huron would emerge from). Lake levels at that time would have been approximately 30 metres (~100 feet) higher than Lake Ontario's current level. West of the Scarborough Bluffs, the original shoreline of Lake Iroquois heads inland, running between Kingston Road and Queen Street East, eventually following the north side of what is now called Davenport Road. When the ice dam melted, the lake lowered to the level it is today. Rising 90 metres (300 feet) above contemporary Lake Ontario, the bluffs extend approximately 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) along the shoreline from the foot of Victoria Park Avenue to Highland Creek in the east. The Bluffs are constantly eroding due to human activities like building construction, and natural forces. The process of erosion created the Toronto Islands. They were formed when alluvial deposits (loose soil, silt, and clay) from the bluffs were reshaped by water and deposited away from the mainland.

Bluffer's Park
Just south of the 1 Brimley Road Parking lot
Bluffer's Park provides activities for the whole family, including fishing from the shore, hiking, birdwatching, picnicking and more. The bluffs stretch for about 14 kilometres along the Lake Ontario shore. Follow the trails to enjoy both the beach and the bluffs' geological treasures. The Scarborough Bluffs are made up of 11 distinct parks, many of which offer a spectacular view of Lake Ontario, the marina and the beach. Bluffer's Park's east and west beaches have been spotted in many popular movies and TV series including 'Orphan Black', 'Killjoys', 'Star Trek: Short Treks', 'Star Trek: Discovery', 'Pacific Rim' and 'Hannibal'.

Bluffer's Houseboats
Paved sidewalk runs along Bluffer's Park Road. The float homes are on the left hand side of the sidewalk.
Note: Private property. Please observe the houseboats from the sidewalk only. On the shoreline of Lake Ontario, this is one of the few places to find all-season floating houses across the city. Twenty years ago, these 24 unique homes were built at Cherry Beach and towed to Bluffer's Park Marina right before future float homes were banned in the city. The homes were originally registered as boats and were subject to the design and safety requirements of the Canadian Coast Guard. Now mostly officially known as float homes, they were all built much the same as regular homes as they are used all year round. The homes are built on concrete barges that are moored to the dock and anchored to the lake bed. Bumpers protect them from damage in storms but, generally, they are protected by the bluffs and breakwater.

Red Tree Collective 'Greeting to Taniperla' Mural
2685 Kingston Road
'Greeting to Taniperla' is a mural project initiated by the Red Tree Collective. The project involves the re-creation of a mural painted in Chiapas, Mexico in 1998 by a group of Mayan villagers that was subsequently destroyed by the Mexican armed forces. The imagery of the original Taniperla mural reflected on Tzeltal Mayan traditions and portrayed ideals of community life. In an act of solidarity, the mural of Taniperla has also been recreated in the towns of Rosario and Bariloche in Argentina. The Toronto project intends to draw attention to the struggle in Chiapas and to issues affecting our own communities. The artists from Red Tree included Lynn Hutchinson, Claire Carew, Raffael Iglesias, Shelley Niro, Hannah Claus, Sady Ducros along with Scarborough youth.

Kyla Ross 'Motels of Kingston Road' Artbox
Southwest corner of Kingston Road and Brimley Avenue
This utility box mural depicts the signs of the area's many well-known motels, some of which still remain today. Kingston Road's centuries old history as a travel route resulted in many inns and taverns being built along the road. By the 1950s, motels replaced many of the old inns because of the prevalence of the car and the trend in road-tripping. Also due to its proximity to the Scarborough Bluffs, the motel business on Kingston Road was booming. But by the 1980s, with new major highways established nearby, the motels lost business. Many of the motel buildings were then co-opted by the City for use as overflow housing from the City's shelter system and as transitional housing for newcomers to Canada.

Phil, Jennifer, and Jamie Richards 'In the Way of Progress' Mural
2835 Kingston Road
This commemorative mural, painted in 1996 by artists Phil, Jennifer, and Jamie Richards, depicts passengers boarding a radial car at Stop 17 on the Toronto and York Radial Line, at the junction of St. Clair Avenue and Kingston Road. In the background is Scarborough High School, now R.H. King Academy (famous alumni include former NHL players Bobby Baun and Brett Callighen, and Jamie Royal 'Robbie' Robertson, the lead guitarist and songwriter for The Band), which was built in 1922 to accommodate a growing population. A horse-drawn wagon travels leisurely along St. Clair Avenue, while on Kingston Road, a gas-powered truck is temporarily halted by a symbol of Scarborough's rural heritage. This mural was a Scarborough Bicentennial project, initiated by the Cliffcrest Community Association and managed by Mural Routes. The mural was restored by Phil and Jennifer Richards in 2009.

McCowan District Park & Trail
150 McCowan Road
Originally a City of Scarborough Works Yard, the City of Toronto had the unique opportunity to convert it into an active, multi-use recreational park when the yard was decommissioned. The first two phases of the park were completed in 2006 and include a new playground, sports fields, recreational trails and Scarborough's second ice rink. Work on Phase Three is underway and aims to add a new splash pad. The paved bike trail is over a kilometre long and runs from Brimley Road (south of Danforth Road in the west) up to Eglinton Avenue East and Bellamy Road South in the east.

Fool's Paradise
1 Meadowcliffe Drive
*Note: Private property. Please observe the house from the street only. Fool's Paradise was the home and studio of Canadian landscape artist, writer and educator Doris McCarthy (1910-2010). During a sketching trip to the property in November 1939, McCarthy was immediately inspired by the landscape views and picturesque setting, and purchased the property for $1,250. In 1940, she had a small cottage built on the property. The cottage got its name thanks to McCarthy's mother, Mary Jane, who referred to the property as 'that fool's paradise of yours'. Originally the cottage was a summer retreat, but it became her permanent home in 1946. University of Toronto Scarborough was left many of her artworks and hosts the Doris McCarthy Gallery on its campus. McCarthy left her home to the Ontario Heritage Trust and it is now operated as the Doris McCarthy Artist-in-Residence Centre.

Explore Cliffcrest

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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

Cliffcrest is a mostly residential community with several high profile attractions such as the popular Bluffer's Park and Canadian landscape artist Doris McCarthy's home. A wide variety of small local restaurants and other businesses line historic Kingston Road which continues to be the heart of the community. Other great local businesses can be found along St. Clair Avenue East.

Main Streets: Kingston Road, St. Clair Avenue East
  1. Stinson's Shop (Scarborough Bluffs Refreshment Room)
    171 Midland Avenue
    The Scarborough Bluffs Refreshment Room, more commonly known as Stinson's Shop, is a Scarborough landmark. In the late nineteenth century, Cliffside (the area between Kingston Road and Lake Ontario) became a popular recreational destination. In response, commercial buildings were developed and transit lines were improved in the area. The Scarborough Bluffs Refreshment Room was opened by Albert Stinson in 1903. It received a heritage designation in 2008, as it is a rare surviving building connected to the recreational and transportation history of Scarborough and has a wood-frame structure, dormers and windows typical of the time. The building has since been restored to its original 1903 appearance. A local artisinal shop is located on the main floor, with private apartments above.
  2. St. Augustine's Seminary
    2661 Kingston Road
    *Note: Private property. Please observe the seminary from the sidewalk only. In 1890, the idea was conceived to build a seminary, which would provide English-speaking priests to parishes throughout Canada. After various fundraising campaigns, construction of St. Augustine's Seminary was begun in 1910. Completed three years later and able to accommodate 100 students, the seminary was dedicated on August 28, 1913. St. Augustine's became not only the first seminary in English-speaking Canada but also the first institution of higher education in Scarborough. The building is in the Beaux Arts style with influences from the Renaissance Classical tradition.
  3. Scarborough Bluffs
    Scarborough Bluffs lookout in Bluffer's Park. West of Brimley Road South and the marina
    The Scarborough Bluffs have been a shoreline in Toronto for about 13,000 years. 13,000 years ago, ancient Lake Iroquois formed when the St. Lawrence River became blocked by an ice sheet near the present day Thousand Islands. The ice sheet created a dam, which trapped water during the retreat of a melting glacier. Lake Iroquois was also fed by Early Lake Erie and Glacial Lake Algonquin (which Lake Huron would emerge from). Lake levels at that time would have been approximately 30 metres (~100 feet) higher than Lake Ontario's current level. West of the Scarborough Bluffs, the original shoreline of Lake Iroquois heads inland, running between Kingston Road and Queen Street East, eventually following the north side of what is now called Davenport Road. When the ice dam melted, the lake lowered to the level it is today. Rising 90 metres (300 feet) above contemporary Lake Ontario, the bluffs extend approximately 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) along the shoreline from the foot of Victoria Park Avenue to Highland Creek in the east. The Bluffs are constantly eroding due to human activities like building construction, and natural forces. The process of erosion created the Toronto Islands. They were formed when alluvial deposits (loose soil, silt, and clay) from the bluffs were reshaped by water and deposited away from the mainland.
  4. Bluffer's Park
    Just south of the 1 Brimley Road Parking lot
    Bluffer's Park provides activities for the whole family, including fishing from the shore, hiking, birdwatching, picnicking and more. The bluffs stretch for about 14 kilometres along the Lake Ontario shore. Follow the trails to enjoy both the beach and the bluffs' geological treasures. The Scarborough Bluffs are made up of 11 distinct parks, many of which offer a spectacular view of Lake Ontario, the marina and the beach. Bluffer's Park's east and west beaches have been spotted in many popular movies and TV series including 'Orphan Black', 'Killjoys', 'Star Trek: Short Treks', 'Star Trek: Discovery', 'Pacific Rim' and 'Hannibal'.
  5. Bluffer's Houseboats
    Paved sidewalk runs along Bluffer's Park Road. The float homes are on the left hand side of the sidewalk.
    Note: Private property. Please observe the houseboats from the sidewalk only. On the shoreline of Lake Ontario, this is one of the few places to find all-season floating houses across the city. Twenty years ago, these 24 unique homes were built at Cherry Beach and towed to Bluffer's Park Marina right before future float homes were banned in the city. The homes were originally registered as boats and were subject to the design and safety requirements of the Canadian Coast Guard. Now mostly officially known as float homes, they were all built much the same as regular homes as they are used all year round. The homes are built on concrete barges that are moored to the dock and anchored to the lake bed. Bumpers protect them from damage in storms but, generally, they are protected by the bluffs and breakwater.
  6. Red Tree Collective 'Greeting to Taniperla' Mural
    2685 Kingston Road
    'Greeting to Taniperla' is a mural project initiated by the Red Tree Collective. The project involves the re-creation of a mural painted in Chiapas, Mexico in 1998 by a group of Mayan villagers that was subsequently destroyed by the Mexican armed forces. The imagery of the original Taniperla mural reflected on Tzeltal Mayan traditions and portrayed ideals of community life. In an act of solidarity, the mural of Taniperla has also been recreated in the towns of Rosario and Bariloche in Argentina. The Toronto project intends to draw attention to the struggle in Chiapas and to issues affecting our own communities. The artists from Red Tree included Lynn Hutchinson, Claire Carew, Raffael Iglesias, Shelley Niro, Hannah Claus, Sady Ducros along with Scarborough youth.
  7. Kyla Ross 'Motels of Kingston Road' Artbox
    Southwest corner of Kingston Road and Brimley Avenue
    This utility box mural depicts the signs of the area's many well-known motels, some of which still remain today. Kingston Road's centuries old history as a travel route resulted in many inns and taverns being built along the road. By the 1950s, motels replaced many of the old inns because of the prevalence of the car and the trend in road-tripping. Also due to its proximity to the Scarborough Bluffs, the motel business on Kingston Road was booming. But by the 1980s, with new major highways established nearby, the motels lost business. Many of the motel buildings were then co-opted by the City for use as overflow housing from the City's shelter system and as transitional housing for newcomers to Canada.
  8. Phil, Jennifer, and Jamie Richards 'In the Way of Progress' Mural
    2835 Kingston Road
    This commemorative mural, painted in 1996 by artists Phil, Jennifer, and Jamie Richards, depicts passengers boarding a radial car at Stop 17 on the Toronto and York Radial Line, at the junction of St. Clair Avenue and Kingston Road. In the background is Scarborough High School, now R.H. King Academy (famous alumni include former NHL players Bobby Baun and Brett Callighen, and Jamie Royal 'Robbie' Robertson, the lead guitarist and songwriter for The Band), which was built in 1922 to accommodate a growing population. A horse-drawn wagon travels leisurely along St. Clair Avenue, while on Kingston Road, a gas-powered truck is temporarily halted by a symbol of Scarborough's rural heritage. This mural was a Scarborough Bicentennial project, initiated by the Cliffcrest Community Association and managed by Mural Routes. The mural was restored by Phil and Jennifer Richards in 2009.
  9. McCowan District Park & Trail
    150 McCowan Road
    Originally a City of Scarborough Works Yard, the City of Toronto had the unique opportunity to convert it into an active, multi-use recreational park when the yard was decommissioned. The first two phases of the park were completed in 2006 and include a new playground, sports fields, recreational trails and Scarborough's second ice rink. Work on Phase Three is underway and aims to add a new splash pad. The paved bike trail is over a kilometre long and runs from Brimley Road (south of Danforth Road in the west) up to Eglinton Avenue East and Bellamy Road South in the east.
  10. Fool's Paradise
    1 Meadowcliffe Drive
    *Note: Private property. Please observe the house from the street only. Fool's Paradise was the home and studio of Canadian landscape artist, writer and educator Doris McCarthy (1910-2010). During a sketching trip to the property in November 1939, McCarthy was immediately inspired by the landscape views and picturesque setting, and purchased the property for $1,250. In 1940, she had a small cottage built on the property. The cottage got its name thanks to McCarthy's mother, Mary Jane, who referred to the property as 'that fool's paradise of yours'. Originally the cottage was a summer retreat, but it became her permanent home in 1946. University of Toronto Scarborough was left many of her artworks and hosts the Doris McCarthy Gallery on its campus. McCarthy left her home to the Ontario Heritage Trust and it is now operated as the Doris McCarthy Artist-in-Residence Centre.

Accessibility information: Most points of interest are viewable from paved roads and/or sidewalks. The road down to Bluffer's Park is paved but does not have a sidewalk, and it is a steep, winding hill that must be climbed to return to Kingston Road. There is seasonal Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) bus service to Bluffer's Park; please visit ttc.ca for the bus route and schedule. Fool's Paradise is accessible via a paved road, but there is no sidewalk.

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.