Hidden away in the quiet community of West Rouge on the edge of Lake Ontario, the Waterfront Trail is one of Toronto’s hidden gems. It offers over 3.8 km of continuous waterfront trail and 13.5 hectares of waterfront green space. The trail features cobble beaches, scenic vistas, a beautiful natural landscape and a large peninsula which would be perfect for a family picnic.

Enjoying the trail

Along the waterfront trail people enjoy a variety of activities, including walking with family, friends and pets, running, cycling, canoeing, fishing and yoga, and more. The western end of the trail begins with a pedestrian bridge at the mouth of Highland Creek and extends along the waterfront of West Rouge to Rouge Beach Park. There is also a large village common area just north of the waterfront trail which includes a great playground, a wading river, and water play area to enjoy in the summer.

History of the trail

Phase 1 of the Waterfront Trail in West Rouge has been open to the public since 2006. A pedestrian bridge was built over Highland Creek and the waterfront trail extended to the Rouge Hill GO Transit station. Funding of $25 million was provided by Waterfront Toronto to make this beautiful waterfront trail what it is today. In 2006, the Toronto and Region Conservation planted 78 trees, 986 shrubs, 500 wildflowers and over 1000 perennials to enhance the trail’s beauty.

Phase 2, the final stage of the project was completed in November of 2012. This phase connected the waterfront trail from village common area just west of the GO station to the east end of the trail at Rouge Beach Park. The pedestrian bridge and gateway at this end of the park is known as the Western Gateway and connects the Waterfront Trail in West Rouge to the City of Pickering.

The Waterfront Trail in West Rouge was created to achieve the following objectives (established by the Toronto and Region Conservation (TRCA):

  • To provide safe access to the Port Union shoreline and connecting trail systems.
  • To integrate the recommendations of the Shoreline Regeneration and Public Safety, Natural Heritage and Public Use Strategies of TRCA’s Integrated Shoreline Management Plan into any proposed development within the Port Union area.
  • To assist with the completion of the Lake Ontario Greenway through this section of Toronto in cooperation with the Waterfront Regeneration Trust and local municipalities.
  • To provide natural linkages between the lake and green space within the Port Union community between Highland Creek to the west and the Rouge River to the east.
  • To improve and enhance the terrestrial and aquatic habitats within this shoreline corridor.

Accessing the trail

Pedestrians can access the Waterfront Trail in West Rouge in one of three ways:

  • At the west end of the trail pedestrians can get to the waterfront through Colonel Danforth Park which is located at Colonel Danforth Trail and Kingston Road. You can park at the foot of the entrance to Colonel Danforth Park and reach the waterfront trail by traveling approximately 1.7 km along the Highland Creek Trail to the pedestrian bridge over Highland Creek which is the western end of the Waterfront Trail in West Rouge.
  • The trail can also be accessed through the pedestrian underpass just 300 m west of the Rouge Hill GO station. You can park in the station parking lot at the south end of East Avenue and Lawrence Avenue or additional parking is available at the south end of Port Union Road.
  • Finally, the trail can also be accessed through Rouge Beach Park. Parking is available at the east end of Lawrence Avenue and Rouge Hill Drive for this access point.

The Waterfront Trail in West Rouge is also easily accessible from Downtown Toronto. If you take the GO train from Union Station east along Lakeshore, you get off at Rouge Hill Station and the trail entrance is just 300 m west of the station and can be accessed by a pedestrian tunnel.