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port union waterfront park

A unique shoreline park in the eastern reaches of the city featuring cobblestone beaches, pedestrian lookouts and connections to waterfront trails. The park provides lakefront access in an area where previously none existed.

Port Union Waterfront Park provides nearly four kilometres of beautiful shoreline recreational space in a part of Toronto’s eastern waterfront that historically lacked public access. The public can now enjoy recreational activities along the multi-use trail and enhanced shoreline, which provides a stunning water’s-edge route to walk, cycle or skate through the area.


A unique and accessible urban escape, the sprawling park not only enhances the area and connects the local community to the lake, but also helps to establish Port Union as a recreational destination for the entire city to enjoy.


Port Union Waterfront Park is located on the shore of Lake Ontario between the mouth of Highland Creek and the Rouge River in the eastern end. The project has improved recreational access to the waterfront, created 3.8 km of waterfront trail, added shoreline protection and enhanced terrestrial and aquatic habitat.


The park is composed of a series of headland beach systems which are integrated into two existing dynamic beaches at the western (Phase one) and eastern (Phase two) ends of the project area, as well as a larger headland in the central portion of the site, known as the Pedestrian Node.


Phase one opened in September 2006. Tthe second and final phase opened in November 2012. Phase two also included the construction of a new gateway at the eastern edge of the park that connects the City of Toronto and the City of Pickering’s waterfront trails. The Western Gateway opened in June 2010.


visiting the park


You can access the park by entering via the pedestrian bridge over Highland Creek from East Point Park, the pedestrian underpass at the Port Union Village Common or from the east at Rouge Beach.

learn more


phase one


Waterfront Toronto, in partnership with Toronto and Region Conservation opened phase one of the Port Union Waterfront Park in September 2006. Running along Lake Ontario in Scarborough from Highland Creek in the west to Port Union Road in the east, the park provides the people of Toronto with access to the shoreline, trails, wetlands, pedestrian lookouts and cobblestone beaches.


Phase one involved the construction of the pedestrian node at the foot of Port Union Road, more than half of the 3.8 kilometres of the new waterfront trail system, five cobble beaches and a bridge at the mouth of Highland Creek.


A bridge over the mouth of the Highland Creek and a pedestrian tunnel at Port Union Village Common now provide safe access to the lake and connect the two access points. Up until completion of this first phase, public access to the water was restricted due to the proximity of the CN railway line to the Lake Ontario shoreline.


Shoreline restoration improvements and the creation of additional aquatic and terrestrial habitat were also important parts of the first phase of work and are in keeping with Waterfront Toronto’s sustainability commitments.


phase two construction


The second phase of the park started at Port Union Road and extended the park east to the Rouge River and the gateway to the City of Pickering. Phase two also included improved recreational access to the waterfront and brings the total length of the new waterfront trail to 3.8 kilometres. Additional features included shoreline protection and enhancements to terrestrial and aquatic habitat. Phase two of the park opened to the public in November 2012.


special features


environmental sustainability


The park was constructed using lake fill material from local construction sites, including the reuse of existing shoreline protection materials at the base of the CN Rail line. The bridge of over Highland Creek is made completely of self-weathering steel. The parkland was planted with native trees and shrubs.


public art


A mural in the Port Union pedestrian tunnel depicting the nautical heritage of the community was painted by a local artist.


western gateway


The Western Gateway to Port Union Waterfront Park is a pedestrian bridge and staircase constructed to connect the City of Toronto and City of Pickering waterfronts. The bridge features a raised boardwalk made of corten steel with spruce decking.


The gateway was conceived to provide visitors and trail users from both Toronto and Pickering safe and easy access to the lake and waterfront trail systems on both sides. Improvements to the eastern shore of the Rouge River included new steps on the north side of the railway and the replacement of the raised pedestrian boardwalk on the south side of the railway.


The Gateway to Port Union Waterfront Park enhances connectivity of the waterfront trail system and is in keeping with Waterfront Toronto's commitment to creating accessible and vibrant public spaces. The gateway, which officially opened in June 2010, was funded under the Port Union Waterfront Park project in a cost sharing agreement with the City of Pickering.

related news

project status

Approved Budget:

quick facts

Boundaries: From the Highland Creek in the west to the Rouge River in the east.


Design Team: PMA Landscape Architects, Ganawa Company and Brown & Co


Size: 13.5 hectares: Phase one approximately 8 hectares; phase two approximately 5.5 hectares


Trails: 3.8 kilometres of continuous waterfront trail system


Number of Beaches: Ten cobblestone beaches, five in each of the two phases.


Our Planet: The Environment

The US television series profiles Toronto's waterfront revitalization.

To the Waterfront

Watch to learn more about the revitalization of Toronto’s waterfront

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