Web Content Viewer (JSR 286)

Actions
Loading...

Parking It: Ashbridges Bay Park

Sep 7, 2016

The Ashbridges Bay Park headland on the eastern shores of Lake Ontario.

The Ashbridges Bay Park headland on the eastern shores of Lake Ontario. (Image by Toronto and Region Conservation)      

Ashbridges Bay Park is your one-stop destination for fulfilling your #summergoals before the season’s end.

Parking It is a weekly series of blog posts – running all summer long – that will explore Toronto’s system of waterfront parks.

By Tennille Dowers 

September is here, which means it’s time for us to squeeze in the last of our summertime activities before fall begins. We’re fitting in a visit to Ashbridges Bay Park on the eastern Toronto waterfront before the autumn chill arrives.

The scenic landscape that Ashbridges Bay Park currently occupies has undergone many decades of transformation. Over time, Lake Ontario currents have transported sediment from the Scarborough Bluffs creating sand dune formations along the Toronto Harbour. Structural materials and aggregate from the bottom of the lake were used to fortify the grounds and shoreline of the stretch of land that would eventually become Ashbridges Bay Park. 

A view of the lively shoreline at Woodbine Beach.

A view of the lively shoreline at Woodbine Beach. (Image by @tsrg99 on Instagram) 

Several revitalization projects transformed marshland into Ashbridges Bay parkland – a recreational hub for area residents and visitors.

In the 1790s, British Loyalist and former Philadelphia resident, Sarah Ashbridge, acquired a plot of farmland near what would become Ashbridges Bay Park. Back then, the area at the water’s edge was part of the large marshland that expanded from the mouth of the Don River. Over the decades, industrial use left that marshland heavily polluted. In 1910, the Toronto Harbour Commission drained five square kilometres of marshland, cleaned up the industrial waste and filled it in. Eventually, this area was formed into Woodbine Beach. Ashbridges Bay Park opened to the public in the 1970s and was named after Sarah Ashbridge.

Multiple beach volleyball games underway on the sands of Ashbridges Bay Park.

Multiple beach volleyball games underway on the sands of Ashbridges Bay Park. (Image by @letmebekate on Instagram)

Woodbine Beach is one of the main attractions at Ashbridges Bay Park. Volleyball nets, picnic areas, lifeguard stations and a boardwalk pathway sit along the three-kilometre stretch of white sand beach. Woodbine Beach has been Blue Flag designated since 2005. The Blue Flag is an internationally recognized designation that means the beach is routinely tested and maintains certain criteria to ensure that the water is safe for swimming. 

Ashbridges Bay Park is a year-round recreational hot-spot. 

Ashbridges Bay Park is your one-stop destination if sailing, kayaking, canoeing, fishing, picnicking, venturing along the Martin Goodman Trail, hiking and skateboarding are still on your summer to-do list. 

Skateboarders honing their skills at the Beach Skatepark.

Skateboarders honing their skills at the Beach Skatepark. (Image by Ontario Skateparks)

Beach Skatepark sits near the Ashbridges Bay Park entrance on the other side of Lakeshore Boulevard East. It is the largest concrete skatepark in Ontario and Toronto’s only regional skatepark. Beginners and expert skaters can enjoy a mix of elevated, railed and recessed fixtures that add variety and depth to the concrete surfaces. 

A cardinal (left) and goldfinch (right) perching in the naturalized park habitat.  A cardinal (left) and goldfinch (right) perching in the naturalized park habitat.

A cardinal (left) and goldfinch (right) perching in the naturalized park habitat. (Images by @whatzname on Instagram)

Ashbridges Bay Park’s headland is a great place for fishing and observing many species of birds. 

While mostly man-made, the Ashbridges Bay parkland has naturalized over time and now has large spreads of green fields and groves of mature trees. Green space and wetland areas along the shore are home to the various animals and microorganisms that contribute to the city’s biodiversity.

A dazzling fireworks display illuminates the skies over the Ashbridges Bay Park waterfront.

A dazzling fireworks display illuminates the skies over the Ashbridges Bay Park waterfront. (Image by Ruth Choi)

If the recreational possibilities won’t entice you into visiting Ashbridges Bay Park, the stunning scenery will. 

Ashbridges Bay Park’s gorgeous waterfront views. Many people flock to its shores for Annual Victoria Day and Canada Day fireworks displays. 

The entrance to Ashbridges Bay Park is located on Lakeshore Boulevard East at Coxwell Avenue. You are able to gain access to the park through the Martin Goodman trail that connects to the main multi-use park trail at the northern boundary. TTC transit bus 92 and the 501 streetcar make stops just over a block away from the park entrance. 

Quick Ashbridges Bay Park Facts:

•    5 square kilometres in size
•    Bird watching 
•    Barrier-free multi-use trail and amenities including:

o    Fishing
o    Beach Skatepark 
o    Washrooms 
o    Change rooms 
o    Boardwalk 
o    Fire pit 

•    Woodbine Beach

o    3-kilometre stretch  
o    Swimming 
o    Outdoor shower
o    Volleyball courts 
o    Ashbridges Bay Volleyball Association 
o    Ontario Volleyball Association

•   Toronto Hydroplane and Sailing Club
•   Ashbridges Bay Yacht Club 
•   Food vendors 

Take a look at our revitalization vision for Toronto’s parks and public spaces.

post contributor

  • Tennille Dowers

    Tennille Dowers was a social media and online content intern at Waterfront Toronto in 2016.