History of Port Union
Port Union / Rouge Hills / West Rouge
Port Union was also part of the Highland Creekcommunity. (Although most of the buildings were across the Town Line in Pickering.) Port Union was located in the south east corner of Scarborough, at Lawrence Avenue and Port Union Road. In 1865 a post office opened in Port Union Station. Early 19th century businesses in the area included the Scarborough, Markham, and Pickering Wharf Company (est. 1847), and hotels operated by Will Hetherington and Thomas Laskey.
In the 1920s, real estate developer Cecil White & Co. purchased multiple tracts of land east of Port Union Village with intentions of creating a large community along the west bank of the Rouge River intended to become “The Venice of the North”. Although the dream was never completely realized, the name of White’s subdivision “Rouge Hills” lives on to this day as the name of the local commuter railway station.
The West Rouge community, a modern name associated with Port Union, was originally part of Pickering. Scarborough annexed the West Rouge in 1973 following several years of negotiations. There were concerns about meshing taxation and other costs to the municipality that had to be addressed following the initial annexation discussions in 1969. The West Rouge was east of the town line and west of the Rouge River containing 857 acres and a population of 3,414 at the time of annexation. Source: The Scarborough Historical Society
Port Union Waterfront Park
A unique linear park in the eastern reaches of the city featuring cobblestone beaches, pedestrian lookouts and connections to waterfront trails. The park provides lakefront access in an area where previously none existed.
The Port Union Waterfront Park is a new park on the shoreline of Lake Ontario between the mouth of Highland Creek and the Rouge River in the eastern end of the city close to the border with Pickering. The project includes the development of improved recreational access to the waterfront, 3.6 km of waterfront trail, shoreline protection and the creation of terrestrial and aquatic habitat.
The new shoreline park will be composed of two series of headland beach systems which are integrated into two existing dynamic beaches at the eastern (Phase one) and eastern (Phase two) ends of the project area, as well as a larger headland in the central portion of the site, known as the Pedestrian Node.
Phase one of the new park opened in September 2006 and the second phase is currently under construction and will open in 2012. The project also includes a new gateway at the western edge of the park that connects the City of Toronto and the City of Pickering. The Western Gateway opened in June 2010.
Waterfront Toronto, in partnership with Toronto and Region Conservation opened phase one of the Port Union Waterfront Park in September 2006. Running along Lake Ontario in Scarborough from Highland Creek in the west to Port Union Road in the east, the park provides the people of Toronto with access to the shoreline, trails, wetlands, pedestrian lookouts and cobblestone beaches.
Phase one involved the construction of the pedestrian node at the foot of Port Union Road, more than half of the 3.6 kilometres of proposed waterfront trail system, five cobble beaches and a bridge at the mouth of Highland Creek.
A bridge over the mouth of the Highland Creek and a pedestrian tunnel at Port Union Village Common now provide safe access to the lake and connect the two access points through a 1.4 kilometre trail. Up until completion of this first phase, public access to the water was restricted due to the proximity of the CN railway line to the Lake Ontario shoreline.
Shoreline restoration improvements and the creation of additional aquatic and terrestrial habitat were also important parts of the first phase of work and are in keeping with Waterfront Toronto’s sustainability commitments.
The second phase of the park is currently under construction east from Chesterton Shores in the west to the Rouge River in the east. This phase includes improved recreational access to the waterfront and will bring the total length of the trail to 3.6 kilometres. Additional activities include shoreline protection and enhancements to terrestrial and aquatic habitat. Phase two of the park is expected to open to the public in 2012.
The park was constructed using lake fill material from local construction sites, including the reuse of existing shoreline protection materials at the base of the CN Rail line. The bridge of over Highland Creek was made completely of self-weathering steel. The parkland was planted with native trees and shrubs.
A local artist painted a mural in the Port Union pedestrian tunnel. The mural depicts the nautical history of the community. In the future, the City of Toronto will incorporate public art in the part, celebrating the cultural heritage of the site.
The Western Gateway to Port Union Waterfront Park is a pedestrian bridge constructed to connect the City of Toronto with the City of Pickering. The bridge features a raised boardwalk made of corten steel with spruce decking.
The gateway was conceived to provide visitors and trail users from both Toronto and Pickering safe and easy access to the lake and waterfront trail systems on both sides. Improvements to the eastern shore of the Rouge River included new steps on the north side of the railway and the replacement of the raised pedestrian boardwalk on the south side of the railway.
The Gateway to Port Union Waterfront Park enhances connectivity of the waterfront trail system and is in keeping with Waterfront Toronto’s commitment to creating accessible and vibrant public spaces. The gateway, which officially opened in June 2010, was funded under the Port Union Waterfront Park project in a cost sharing agreement with the City of Pickering. Source:Waterfront Toronto