Staircase down Bluffs?

Aug 8, 2012

So here’s a history mystery!

Scarborough Bluffs Stairs 1911?

Does anybody know anything about a set of stairs that were once used to get up and down the Scarborough Bluffs?

This fabulous photo of a staircase on the Bluffs is from the Toronto Archives and is posted on the Facebook page Vintage Toronto.

When were they built?

You can see that someone at the archives has written “1911?” in the margin, indicating they’re not sure of the date.

There’s mention of a staircase on the Scarborough Historical Society’s website, in an excerpt from the Toronto Telegram.

But it’s dated February 3, 1919 and it talks about the stairs being almost complete.

Lake Front Steps at Birch Cliff

“The flight of wooden steps which the ratepayers’ association has been endeavoring to have placed from the top of the cliff to the lake front at Birch Cliff is almost completed, and is expected that the work can be finished up as soon as the grant from the township council has been received. Another meeting of the ratepayers is to be held before the steps are finally placed.”

Is it possible that these are the same stairs refered to in the Telegram and that the archivist simply got the date wrong?

And here’s another photograph indicating that stairs on the Bluffs might not have been a very good idea.

This next photo is dated 1927 and the staircase looks like it’s been battered by the elements and fallen apart.

Can you help solve the mystery?

Are they the same stairs?  Where were they and why were they  built?

If you know anything about this it would be great if you could scroll down and leave a comment.

Scarborough Bluffs Stairs, 1927

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  1. Joe

    I know there was a set of stairs in the mid to late 70’s. We use to call them the thousand pair of stairs.
    The exact location I’m not sure of but I’m thinking at the end of Warden or Fallingbrook

  2. June Cunningham

    In 1936 the White Castle at Stop 12 had a reception for area residents to see the facility.
    My parents talked about stairs near that location…don’t know if the picture shows the same stairs,
    We went down to the lake at Stop 14 and tobogganed on the Golf Course. Happy childhood.

  3. Dianne Matthews

    I remember when I was young, growing up in the McCowan & Kingston area, going to Cudia Park, east of Bluffers park and being told about and seeing remainders of stairs that used to go down the cliff there. It is a very steep, high cliff and only the more adventurous teens would venture down. There was also a sunken tug boat just off the beach at the bottom of the cliff where teens would go and party in the 1960s. I don’t know if the tug is still there…

  4. deborah jane mallory

    if you followed the driveway at the bottom of Fallingbrook there where stairs that took you down to the beach. There was a pavilion to the right of the stairs where we kept our boats. there was also a fountain counter and freezer for ice cream to the west of the pavilion there was a private beach for the apartments above (4 4floor, 2 bedrooms) at 3018 Queen St. east, continuing west is the waterworks. I lived there from 1948 to 1964. fabulous childhood

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