Toronto police warn about dangers of Scarborough Bluffs

Toronto police say they want to make residents more aware of the dangers of ignoring signs at the top of the Scarborough Bluffs after three young women were rescued on Monday.

Police say trails along edge of cliffs used by deer, not designed for people

Toronto Police Sgt. Lou Gibb, of 41 Division, says the dangers of Scarborough Bluffs are real. He urged Toronto residents not to hop the fence in Scarborough Bluffs Park, at the top of the cliffs, because the cliffs are unstable. He said people endanger themselves and the firefighters who rescue them. (CBC)

Toronto police want to make people more aware of the dangers of the Scarborough Bluffs after three young women were rescued on Monday.

Sgt. Lou Gibb of Toronto Police's 41 Division told CBC News that people who ignore the warning signs posted at the top of the Bluffs do not realize that the cliffs on the other side of the fence are unstable. 

"The dangers are very, very real. When you step over that fence, where it says do not step over that fence, at any given time, these cliffs could fall away," he said.

"Yesterday's rescue was a three-hour mission, to rescue three young girls who went along a path they shouldn't have been on to begin with. It was a deer path. Those are four-legged deer that are going through there. It's not for two legged humans to walk along the edge of the cliff."

Thirty firefighters were involved in the rescue on Monday near Rosetta McClain Gardens at Kingston Road and Glen Everest Road. 

Gibb said people who ignore the signs, stationed at the edge of Scarborough Bluffs Park, may not realize when they need to be rescued that they are endangering the lives of the firefighters who use ropes to lower themselves down, as well as the firefighters who hold those ropes.

Signs posted by the city say the maximum fine for trespassing on the Bluffs is $5,000. 

Gibb said police have already met with city staff and plan to meet with Toronto Transit Commission officials to discuss the problem of people climbing over the fence at Scarborough Bluffs Park and down the cliffs to get to the beach. 

There is no access to the lake from the Scarborough Bluffs Park. 

Gibb said there could be better signage at the top of the Bluffs, letting park visitors know that they need go to Brimley and Kingston Roads to enter Bluffer's Park.

"These are mountains. These are not little backyard hills. These are cliffs that can give away at any given time," Gibb said.

"We need a sign that says you cannot get down to the beach from this location," he said.

City staff say the city is hoping to install more warning signs in Scarborough Bluffs Park and is reviewing the current barriers that are in place, with a view to enhancing them.

On Monday, the Toronto Fire Service said the three young women were walking down a trail for about 40 minutes when they detoured onto another trail and got stuck. 

Fire crews tracked down the hikers using camera images from a helicopter and cell phone signals. One of the three also had a whistle. 

None of the three were seriously injured, but with a heat warning in effect, one of the hikers reported feeling dehydrated and another suffered an allergic reaction.