Rouge Beach

Ontario, Canada

Starfish Rating of 3.5

Claim to Fame

Home of the largest wetland marshes and wildlife reserve in the Toronto region, with a view to the east of the Pickering Nuclear Generation Station and to the west of the CN Tower.

(click image to enlarge)
image courtesy of Cat Delaney
  • Where is it?on the north shore of Lake Ontario at the eastern border of metropolitan Toronto (where it meets the town of Pickering in Durham Region), at the foot of Rouge Hills Drive where the Rouge River empties into Lake Ontario
  • Coordinates: latitude» 43.7929°
    longitude» -79.1186°
  • Water Type: freshwater
  • Climate: continental (hot, humid summers; cold, damp winters)
  • Development: heavily built-up urban area; part of major city
  • Length of Beach: 1.5m/2.5km
  • Type: ivory sand
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Rouge Beach was so named after the red clay contained in the bed of the Rouge River; the river was once so wide it carried passenger and cargo traffic, but now it is reduced to a smaller, winding river. It is rich with fish and supports all manner of wildlife, ending in a marshy sanctuary divided from Lake Ontario by a spit of land (the parkís entrance road and parking lot). Here, the observant can see Canada geese, a variety of ducks, blue herons, cranes, and with telescopes or camera zoom lenses, goldfinches, and monarch and black swallowtail butterflies.

Because of its natural wonders, Rouge Beach is far more than a place for sun and fun on Lake Ontario. Part of the Lake Ontario Waterfront Trail system, Rouge Beach boasts a long, paved boardwalk and bicycle path, and it attracts exercise buffs and ornithologists in equal measure.

Easily accessible on foot, by car or public transit, the beach and parklands are well equipped with washrooms and drinking fountains, and are fairly close by car to other amenities.

Rouge has a south exposure and is protected at the eastern end by high cliffs; a lower ridge of cliffs runs along the balance of the beach, so itís all reasonably sheltered and suitable for swimming, kayaking, canoeing, and para-sailing. Canoes and rowboats are permitted along the river, but in respect of wildlife, no motorized boats are allowed. Fishing (with a license) is done up the length of the river and towards the edge of the lake.

Rouge Beach is a rare entity, not just because it is a wetland and sanctuary so close to the core of a major city, but also because it has found a balance of people and animals in harmony. There are no childrenís activities here except to learn to identify birds, fish and animals after a fine day building sandcastles on the beach.

See additional Toronto Beaches.

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