Toronto is the cosmopolitan capital city of Canada, and a place where just walking through the fashion district could be considered a daily hike, with lots of, well, wild life around. From the heart of downtown Toronto, where theCN Tower and the Dome sit by Lake Ontario is the island. The only access to the Toronto Island is by a ferry, or a rather dangerous swim across the narrowest channel to the Island Airport, but the Island offers a good day’s hike, with swimming, a children’s park, food stands, a restaurant and a bar. If you want nature but aren’t willing to drive to see it, a day’s hike on Toronto Island is a great way to spend the day.
For those a little more on the adventurous side, if you have a vehicle, or can rent one for a day or three, then head about 200 Kilometers to the BrucePeninsula . There are cave systems well worth exploring, and some were used for the filming of the movie “Chariots of Fire”. A 780 Kilometer trail was established here, and you can hike to your heart’s content, squeezed between Lake Huron and the Georgian Bay, where the most expensive and expansive cottages can be found. There is also a large beach district near the entry to the Bruce Peninsula,Wasaga Beach, where the sand dunes are impressive, to say the least.
If the beach town does not impress or beckon to you, then head straight for the Bruce Penninsula, and drive straight to the end, at the Bruce Penninsula Provincial Park. There is world-renowned scuba diving here, with hundreds of sunken ships and airplanes, civil and
military, for divers to explore and marine life to call home. Camping can be gad in the Park for a fee, with heavy and rather Draconian laws in place, or you can set up camp along the Bay side of the Trail, where there are picnic tables and fire pits awaiting you. And there is no shortage of drift wood or dried, dead tree branches on the ground to keep you warm and fed under the stars at night.
And, with no major cities anywhere near the Bruce Peninsula, the stars do shine mightily. The trails within the Bruce Trail network range from easy to expert, and the harder trails do tend to follow the wet, misty and windy shoreline of Lake Huron. For a world-class hiking adventure, the Bruce Trail is hard to beat, unless you want to travel to the Rocky Mountains, or the Grand Canyon to hike in style.
There are some great streams that feed into Lake Ontario, about an hour’s drive East and South of Toronto, on highway 401 to Port Hope to the East, and the Queen Elizabeth Highway, South and West to Port Credit. Bring along a fishing pole and some worms, and catch some nice brown trout, lake trout, Atlantic salmon or many other species of sport fish. There are some wonderful trails that snake along the creeks that feed into Lake Ontario, and any one of these trails would be well worth a day’s visit. But pack a lunch and bring plenty of fluids, as snack bars and stores are not handy.
Wherever you decide to hike near Toronto, you can always get back by night to enjoy the world-class night life entertainment, catch the Toronto Maple Leafs lose another hockey game, or see the TorontoRaptors tear up the basketball court against some of the best basketball players in the world. The Blue Jays can be seen playing in the Dome, at the bottom of theCN Tower. And be sure to stop by Honest Ed’s, the legendary, and quite tacky discount store.