Toronto and Region Waterfront Features
The Etobicoke Sector includes 9.7km of lake frontage covering all of the waterfront lands in the former Borough of Etobicoke. The westerly limit of the sector is Marie Curtis Park where the Etobicoke Creek enters Lake Ontario. The easterly limit is the mouth of the Humber River. Mimico Creek enters Lake Ontario approximately 1.6km west of the mouth of the Humber River at the Humber Bay Park complex.
Along this section of the waterfront, the shore cliff is fairly uniform varying from sandy sloping beaches to 6 metre bluffs consisting of sand, silt and clay. In the nearshore zone, the bottom is composed mainly of shale and has essentially been scraped clean of material by currents, wave action and stone hooking activities of the 19th and early 20th centuries.
City of Toronto Sector:
The City of Toronto Sector extends from the Humber River in the west, to Nursewood Avenue in the east, a distance of approximately 16.9km. The primary feature of this sector is the central waterfront: the harbour, the Toronto Islands and Ontario Place.
The Western Beaches comprises the area south of the Gardiner Expressway between the Humber River and the projection of Dufferin Street at the Canadian National Exhibition. This section of the waterfront is entirely within Humber Bay and as a result, is protected from major storms from the east by the Toronto Islands. A sandy bottom runs adjacent to the Western Beaches shoreline. Beyond that, the bottom material consists of silty clay deposited by the Humber River. The Humber River is at the western edge of this sector and carries a significant sediment load during the spring flood season. The silty clay material is deposited in the vicinity of the mouth as well as to the east.
The Eastern Beaches cover 2.4km of shoreline south of Queen St. between Ashbridges Bay and the eastern limit of the city at Nursewood Road. It consists of a gently sloping backshore, and a gradually sloping bottom of fine sand. The beach material in this area is continually shifting as a result of wave action and lake currents but is fed by eroding material from the Scarborough Bluffs. The narrow eastern and central areas of the eastern beaches are low-lying and suffer during high water cycles and bad storms. Shoreline protection works are used to mitigate the force of the wave action.
The Scarborough Sector includes the lake frontage extending from Victoria Park Avenue to the Rouge River, a distance of approximately 20.1km.
This sector is characterized by the Scarborough Bluffs which are a unique and impressive natural feature of the Toronto Region waterfront. The Bluffs have an elevation of up to 91.4m, and include the spectacular Needles and Cathedral Bluffs close to Brimely Rd. The bluffs are known and studied throughout the world as one of the most interesting records of the Wisconsin stage of the Pleistocene geologic era.
The Pickering/Ajax Sector is the waterfront sector furthest to the east in the Toronto Region. 12.8km of lake frontage covers all of the public waterfront lands in the City of Pickering and Town of Ajax, excluding the interior shoreline of Frenchman's Bay, which covers an additional 5.3km.
Beginning at the Rouge River in the west and extending almost to the Ajax-Whitby town line, this sector has a shoreline that includes bluffs that reach up to 22.9m as well as flat sand beach areas.