The life guard station on Cherry Beach
|Operated by||Toronto Parks|
Cherry Beach (originally Clarke Beach Park) is a lakeside beach park located at the foot of Cherry Street just south of Unwin Avenue in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It is on Toronto's outer harbour just east of the Eastern Gap. It was once connected with Toronto Islands as part of the former peninsula before 1852 and later was referred to as Fisherman's Island.
Despite its location at the tip of Toronto's formerly heavily industrial Port Lands area, Cherry Beach has still been a popular gathering place for years. There is no boardwalk or proper picnic area, and much of the surrounding areas is marshland or leftover grounds from what was once commercial industry and factory grounds. Recently the park has undergone improvements which includes a paved entranceway and a renovated washroom and swimming change room facilities.
In summer, the beach water is generally calm and slightly warmer than other Toronto beaches along the lake shore, as its shallow water is sheltered by the Leslie Street Split from direct surges of the Lake Ontario, However, there are extensive growth of seaweeds underwater that degrades the swimming experience.
It was originally named Clarke Beach Park after Harry Clarke, a Toronto alderman who was responsible for creating the park in the early 1930s. In 2003, the city changed it to Cherry Beach which is the local common name.
For many years it was one of the few Toronto beaches that was clean enough for swimming, windsurfing and kitesurfing. It has change rooms for bathers and barbecue areas for picnickers. It also has an off-leash area for dog walkers. The Martin Goodman Trail passes through the park.
Cherry Beach Sports Fields
A wooded area by the beach has been turned into soccer fields, children's play structure and a metered parking area.
In 2006 a pair of soccer fields were completed on land that had formerly been part of the greenbelt, at 275 Unwin Avenue. The fields were surfaced in astroturf and built to FIFA standards, and games of the 2007 FIFA Jr championship were to be played there. During the environmental assessment the site was found to be heavily contaminated by heavy metals, hydrocarbons and PCBs. The soccer field was described as a "transitional" facility, as most of the land on either side of Unwin was underutilized city land that could be repurposed to sport facilities even though it was contaminated.
In popular culture
Pukka Orchestra had a local radio hit in 1984 with the song "Cherry Beach Express". The song is about local lore of how the Toronto police used Cherry Beach as a location to beat suspects. The police tried to have the song banned. Hardcore punk band Career Suicide also references the slang phrase "Cherry Beach express" (referring to the supposed police practice) in their song "Cherry Beach".
The Kids in the Hall shot several segments at Cherry Beach, including installments of their recurring "Cops" sketches.
Parts of the movie Silent Hill: Revelation 3D were filmed at Cherry Beach.
- Renaming Clarke Beach Park to Cherry Beach
- "Port Lands Transitional Sports Fields Public Meeting" (PDF). Waterfront Toronto. 2006-09-13. Retrieved 2012-03-18.
- Ben Knight (2009-05-21). "Deep in the shadows". Onward Soccer. Archived from the original on 2013-07-04. Retrieved 2012-03-18.
"Toronto FC to build training facility at Downsview Park". The Sports Network. 2011-04-18. Retrieved 2012-03-18.
The Toronto first team has been practising on an artificial turf field at Cherry Beach while the academy sides have worked out on the turf at Lamport Stadium.
- "Pukka Orchestra, Cherry Beach Express". AudioDorks. Retrieved August 28, 2020.
- "Toronto Urban Legends: Cherry Beach Express". Torontoist, October 3, 2012.
Media related to Cherry Beach Park at Wikimedia Commons