Polson Pier Address: 11 Polson Street, Toronto, ON M5A 1A4
Polson Pier is located in the industrial Port Lands on the Toronto waterfront, just south of the Distillery District and close to Cherry Beach.
It offers excellent, unobstructed views of the Toronto skyline and is one of the best spots to catch a sunset in Toronto.
Keep in mind that this area of the city is currently undergoing significant revitalization, essentially making this area a construction site with limited amenities for visitors.
Keep reading to learn all you need to know about visiting Polson Pier in Toronto.
Polson Pier Skyline and Sunset View
Polson Pier in Toronto is known for offering one of the best unobstructed views of the Toronto skyline and appears on many a list of “best Toronto photo spot” locations.
Tik Tok and Instagram have heightened Polson Pier’s popularity in recent years, and unless you want to travel over to the Toronto Islands, this is one of the best skyline views over Lake Ontario.
Unfortunately, the reality is not quite as impressive as social media makes it appear!
The “pier” is just one short block at the water’s edge in a very industrial area. While there are a couple of benches, there is no on-site parking, and there are no washrooms or other amenities. It’s also in an isolated area. You won’t find cafes or restaurants here!
Don’t get me wrong, if you’re looking for a spectacular view of the Toronto skyline, it’s worth the visit! Just don’t come expecting to make a day out of your trip. This is a quick stop to snap some Instagram-worthy pictures before heading off on further adventures.
☞ See Also: 25 Best Sunset Spots in Toronto
There are a few other interesting activities in and around Polson Pier, including the revitalization efforts in the area (and therefore all the construction), so keep reading to learn more about the area.
Cherry Beach, also known as Clarke Beach, is located just south of Polson Pier. With it’s free parking lots, it may be worth parking at the beach and walking the 15 minutes to Polson Pier to capture your perfect picture!
Cherry Beach is perfect for a stroll along the beach, a pitstop along the Martin Goodman Trail for cyclists, or a visit to the large off-leash dog park. It is also known as an excellent location for water sports, including kitesurfing, kayaking, paddle boarding, and windsurfing.
Cherry Street Bridge South
One of the coolest attractions close to Polson Pier is the brand new yellow and white Cherry Street Bridge South. This bridge opened to drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians in October 2022 and is the first of four new bridges in Toronto’s Port Lands.
This bridge offers striking views of the Toronto skyline and features separate paths for cyclists and pedestrians. The bike lane integrates into the Martin Goodman Trail, making it ideal for cyclists who can cycle all the way to Woodbine Beach in the east or Humber Bridge and beyond in the west.
What is also exciting is that from this bridge, visitors are able to see the development of the future Canoe Cove and Promontory Park South in the area.
The Martin Goodman Trail
The Martin Goodman Trail is a popular multi-use trail and is part of the larger Waterfront Trail system. It is particularly popular with cyclists. It extends 22 km from east to west along Toronto’s waterfront, connecting to over 300 km of trails within the city.
Cherry Beach serves as a main access point to the trail and offers convenient parking. From Cherry Beach, it’s easy to bike to Tommy Thompson Park and, eventually, reach Woodbine Beach, providing a scenic and active outdoor experience.
Right beside Polson Pier, you will find the Rebel Nightclub, often referred to as the “Polson Pier Nightclub.” Rebel is a huge entertainment space that is best known as a nightclub and concert venue. On the weekends or during a concert, the area can get particularly busy with traffic.
From inside the club, there is a grand terrace that also offers dramatic views of the Toronto skyline.
Cabana Pool Bar
Cabana Pool Bar opened in June 2023 in the area formerly known as The Docks. With private cabanas, daybeds, and a pool, it resembles the popular beach clubs of Las Vegas. This seasonal venue is open during the summer months.
The Docks Driving Range
If you are taking in the sunset, you might also want to stop in at the Docks Driving Range. This is one of the few golf driving ranges in the city and the only one in the downtown area.
It is open year-round and has a fully licensed patio with large-screen TVs to watch sporting events! Parking is available for a fee of $10, but with a minimum spend, the parking fee is validated.
Cherry Beach Sports Fields
Also in the area are the Cherry Beach Sports Fields. There are two regulation-sized soccer and lacrosse fields, making it a popular spot for sports teams and visitors who want to take advantage of the large soccer fields.
There is also an excellent playground with a climbing structure shaped like a boat for the kids to enjoy. The only downside is that while parking is available, it is a pay-and-display lot.
Go Karts and Drive-In Movie Theatre Are Now Closed
A few popular activities near Polson Pier are no longer open. The go-karts, which were once a source of fun, closed down in 2019.
Additionally, the Docks Drive-in Movie Theatre, the only drive-in movie theatre located in downtown Toronto, closed its doors in 2017. It did have a brief return in 2020 during the pandemic for a showing of TIFF, but it’s been closed ever since.
If you are looking for information about drive-in movies in Toronto, you will want to read my post about drive-in movie theatres in and around Toronto.
Directions to Polson Pier
If you are visiting Polson Pier to catch a view of the Toronto skyline, it is easiest to get there by car, although current traffic in the area due to construction can be challenging. When visiting during the day, you can park on the street by Polson Pier for a quick hop out of your car and a few pictures.
If you come after 6 p.m., you will need to find alternative parking. I recommend parking at Cherry Beach and then walking about 15 minutes to the pier.
To reach Polson Pier, you can follow these directions:
- By Car:
- From downtown Toronto, head east on Lakeshore Boulevard.
- Continue on Lakeshore Boulevard until you reach Cherry Street.
- Turn south on Cherry Street and follow it to Polson Street.
- Turn right onto Polson Street
- The pier can be found at the bottom of the street on the water
- For those looking to park at Cherry Beach, continue south on Cherry Street until you reach the beach at the end of the street.
- By Public Tranportation:
- While there are public transportation options, they often operate seasonally and are not always very reliable, and there can be long waits
- The 202 Cherry Beach bus runs seasonally seven days a week from early May to October each year.
- The 72 Pape bus also stops at Villiers St. and Cherry St. and is a 15-minute walk to the pier.
- Another option is to walk from the Distillery Streetcar Loop, close to the Distillery District. This is about a 25-minute walk.
- By Bike:
- If you’re cycling, you can use the Martin Goodman Trail. It runs along the waterfront and provides easy access to Polson Pier. Simply follow the trail to the pier’s location.
- There are also bike rentals available in this area
- By Foot:
- You can walk to Polson Pier from downtown, but it is not currently a pleasant walk due to the construction and is not something I would necessarily recommend doing.
- If you do walk, I would suggest walking from the historic Distillery District that is located just north of the Port Lands. It’s about a 25-minute walk from this lovely area of Toronto.
Please note that it’s always a good idea to check for any special events or road closures that might affect access to Polson Pier.
Parking Near Polson Pier
There is no parking at Polson Pier, and street parking is very limited and only available during certain hours. You will want to follow the posted parking signs carefully, as ticketing is very common in the area.
There are a number of paid lots in the area. They cater to the concert crowd and range in price from about $20 to $30 per visit.
Cherry Beach does have free parking; however, this lot can get full, especially when there is a concert or event at Rebel. Always ensure you are following the posted instructions about parking in the area in order to avoid expensive tickets.
Revitalization of the Port Lands
The ongoing construction in the Port Lands is part of an ambitious revitalization effort designed to transform the area into an exciting and inviting outdoor space in the near future. The primary focus of the current work is flood protection, ensuring the safety and sustainability of the region.
The Port Lands revitalization plan includes the creation of a naturalized river valley. New public spaces are being developed to provide gathering spots for the community, including a paddling cove with small islands that can be explored by kayak or canoe.
There will also be a cobble beach with water access, providing a place to relax and enjoy the waterfront. More than 6 kilometres of walking and cycling trails are also being integrated into the project.
So while the area around Polson Pier is not particularly inviting today, the Port Lands’ revitalization is set to rejuvenate the area, making it a welcoming and vibrant outdoor space.
Final Thoughts: A Visit to the Polson Pier
Toronto’s Polson Pier offers one of the best skyline views of Toronto. It’s an excellent spot for a quick stop to snap a few pictures. However, its location in an industrial area with limited parking limits its potential as a prime tourist destination.
With the ongoing revitalization of the Port Lands, however, Polson Pier will have more to offer visitors in the future, so keep your eye on this area of the city as it transforms into a dynamic and attractive outdoor space.
Before You Go: More Toronto Posts
Now that you’ve read this post about the Polson Pier, you may be interested in reading a bit more about Toronto, including this list of things to do in the Beaches neighbourhood, my complete list of winter activities in Toronto and a review of the Sheraton Centre Hotel, my top hotel pick in the city!