October 2018 / Scarborough, Ontario, Canada

Bluffers Park Journal: Autumn in the Park

By Jim Sanderson
When Autumn arrives, the people who live in Bluffer’s Park, visit it, and maintain it, all begin to get ready for winter.  Many changes start in September and progress as cold weather approaches. Though it may surprise some people,  the water at Bluffer’s Park Beach can be surprisingly warm late into September, so at the beginning of Fall a few die-hard swimmers continue to enjoy the Eastern beach on weekends, even though lifeguard services there are no longer provided. 
Not far from the beach, the yacht clubs begin preparing in mid October for freeze-up and snow. ‘In-water’ clubs like Cathedral Bluffs,  Highland, and Bluffers Park, all co-ordinate to stage their haul-outs on the same weekend ,  a spectacle familiar to visitors to the park at this time of year, held this year Oct on 27’th and 28’th.  After boats have been dismasted, they are positioned over wide lift-straps,  hoisted from the water by cranes,  and set down in cradles in the yard. Yacht club members all muster for this operation, helping each other, and ensuring their boats are put to bed properly. Not long after this, visitors and people who live near the park  hear the hum of the aerators that are fixed to the yacht club docks. These are left on all winter to keep them free of ice.  
Also,  at this time of year, near the  small bridge by the entrance to the yacht clubs, and in other shoreline hot spots around the park, fishermen begin their hunt for Brown and Rainbow Trout, Chinook and Coho and Salmon. These fish come in from the lake, returning to creek  beds and beaches they remember from birth.  By late October, they are mainly interested in spawning, and grow disinterested  in bait  as the season progresses.  
Other wildlife in the park also do their things:  Eagles, Hawks, Osprey and Gulls  soar overhead, hunting,  Geese gather to fly south, or stay in the park and live off scraps.  Deer eat mounds of apples left for them by Bluffs Residents  at the bottom of the Brimley road hill, and  lucky park visitors may even catch a glimpse of  a coyote or two  trotting along the paths beside the road, especially at dusk, though these guys are cagey and not often spotted, which is perhaps a good thing.  
As far as maintenance is concerned, Parks Officials begin to get ready for the winter every October,  trimming overgrown vegetation, making sure the paths and roads are ready for snow, closing the public  facilities. Even though access to Brimley Road from Barkdene Avenue is reopend as of Oct 1’st, fewer people actually visit the park than on sunny summer days. But for those looking for a stroll or jog along the water’s edge under the big Scarborough Bluffs, or  some birdwatching, fishing, or cycling on the Brimley hill, Fall is one great time of year to visit  Bluffer’s park. 
 Jim Sanderson is a local bluffs resident, and author. His latest book  ‘ Life in Balmy Beach’ (Xlibris, 2018) is due out this November 
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