Toronto Through My Lens

Rosetta McClain Gardens

The Rosetta McClain Gardens at 5 Glen Everest Road in the east end of Toronto is a beautiful park filled with rose gardens, a rock fountain and a pergola, among many other things. Perched near the top of the Scarborough Bluffs, it also offers fantastic views of Lake Ontario.

A Brief History of the Rosetta McClain Gardens

Thomas McDonald West, owner and operator of J. & J. Taylor Limited, Toronto Safe Works purchased the 16.2 hectare Rumph farm overlooking the Scarborough Bluffs in 1904-1905. He and his wife, Emma, then divided it among their four children, Joseph McDonald, William Needham, Howard Thomas, and Rosetta. Many of the historic landscape improvements enjoyed today were initially undertaken by Rosetta’s husband, Robert Watson McClain, and her brother Joseph McDonald.

Rosetta McClain died in December 1940 and in 1959 her husband donated their property (about 4 hectares) to the city of Toronto in her memory. In 1977, this land was conveyed to the Metropolitan Toronto and Region Conservation Authority and combined with portions of the J.M. and H.T. West properties. A further parcel from the W.N. West holdings was added in 1985, creating a 7.5 hectare park.

Shady Pergola
The gazebo – a shady place to rest
The shell of an old pine house reminds park visitors that people once farmed this property

A spectacular view from the Scarborough Bluffs…

Lake Ontario, looking west
Lake Ontario, looking east
How is it that every time I visit an urban park or garden, I either crash a wedding or model photo shoot?! Here, I encountered hordes of Asian photographers converging on their innocent victim.
One last look

History of Rosetta McClain Gardens courtesy of the City of Toronto’s Parks, Forestry & Recreation web site.


  1. David

    You need to get away from the downtown core to appreciate what Toronto has to offer. These gardens are lovely but you need a car or transit to get there. So make a day out of it and enjoy!

  2. Bob K

    I have been to this garden, and it was lovely, but not as lovely as these photos show. You were there at peak season and on a lovely day.

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