Due to the worldwide pandemic, we’re sticking close to home this summer. So we decided to explore a section of our city that we’re not very familiar with—the east side! Toronto covers a whopping 630 km2 of land! From west to east along the lakeshore, the city spans 51km, and 32km of that is east of Yonge Street. The farthest east we’ve cycled is to the Scarborough Bluffs, and that’s only halfway to Rouge Beach on the city’s border!
Since we live in Toronto’s west end, the east end is even farther. Could we have made this ride a round trip? Sure, if we wanted to give ‘er on a sweltering Toronto summer day! But we were in the mood for a leisurely ride, so we took the GO Train from Union to Rouge Hill station and began our adventure…
Maps, route details and photos are below, but first, enjoy this video!
Part 1: The Highland Creek Trail
This route starts at the Rouge Hill GO station, takes the Waterfront Trail east to Rouge Beach, then doubles back west before turning inland onto the Highland Creek Trail, and finally ends at the Guildwood GO station. If you wanted to, you could take the train back into downtown Toronto from here, though we continued cycling. (See Part 2)
As mentioned, we’re west enders, so we usually cycle the west Toronto trails like the Martin Goodman Trail and the Humber River Trail which are always crowded with cyclists, joggers, rollerbladers and pedestrians. That’s excellent for people watching and being social. But if you’re looking for a more peaceful, solitary ride, the east side has your back! As you can see in the video above and the photos below, our small party of three were often the only ones on the trail!
The downside to cycling the trails in the east end is that apparently less people using them means there are less facilities. We saw no water fountains or bathrooms along the trail. However, if we’d gone into the two big parks we biked through (Colonel Danforth and Morningside Park), I’m sure they had facilities somewhere. But the point is, on the east side don’t expect facilities that are frequent and easily accessible from the cycle path. We most definitely should have brought more water with us!
Part 2: The Waterfront Trail – Toronto Centre East
This section of the Waterfront Trail is a patchwork of trails and residential side streets through suburban Scarborough. Except for a couple sections, the signs are easy to follow. However, it’s not a very scenic route since much of the lake views are blocked by private mansions that back onto the famous Scarborough Bluffs. Though we did manage to get to a couple good lookout points!