Images of a cliff collapsing onto the beach beneath Toronto’s Scarborough Bluffs are serving as a powerful reminder today of why officials keep telling people to stay off of the eroding geological structure.
Toronto Police say that a “large portion of the bluffs” collapsed near Lookout Point just before 4 p.m. on Sunday.
Beachgoers reported what police described as an “explosion-like sound” at the time, prompting those in the area to run or, in some cases, whip out their phones.
Fortunately, nobody was injured by the falling debris.
Many were shaken up, however, when a hunk of the ice-age escarpment fell into Lake Ontario from hundreds of feet above.
Large clouds of brown dust could be seen spreading across the beach as the rock crumbled. Visitors were captured on camera running out of the plume, away from the notoriously-unstable cliffside.
The cause of the cliff collapse has yet to be determined, but Toronto Fire did say that the debris contained a boulder.
Dozens of huge rocks could be seen in a pile of debris beneath the bluffs on Sunday night. Police cordoned off Lookout Point and the area below it accordingly.
“The Scarborough Bluffs are dangerous. Stay away from the bottom and don’t be looking over the edge,” said TPS 41 Division officer Jason Jones on Twitter following the collapse. “Today was a close call.”
Wild as the scene may look, this is far from the first time a part of the Scarborough Bluffs has crumbled.
The bluffs, which flank about 15 kilometres of shoreline and rise as high as 300 feet, have been eroding since their formation, according to the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority. The process has become more intense over the past century thanks to people building homes atop the cliffs.
Lookout Point, where the rock collapsed on Sunday, remains a popular (and incredibly dangerous) tourist destination despite a barrage of warning signs and the frequent need for rescues from the picture-perfect clifftop.