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Family Friendly Ideas

Welcome to Waterfront Trail Adventures family friendly ideas section.  We have put together a list of places connected to the trail for the best possible experience. This section is full of ideas suitable for anyone that enjoys parks, trails, and lakeside events. Over 19% of the 2,000 km Trail is off-road with another 10% using quiet neighbourhood streets and sidewalks. 

Cornwall 

kids dancing on stage in cornwallWalkers, Families on Wheels or Bladers:  
Lamoureux Park- Tour Cornwall’s large and vibrant waterfront park. 
Approx. 1.5 km (3 km return trip)

Cyclists:
  Cornwall Canal to Lamoureux Park- Cycle along the historic Cornwall Canal, on a dedicated off-road trail. Explore Lamoureux Park before return trip.  
Approx. 6 km (12 km return)

Map: See Maps 7-5 and 7-6 in the Maitland to Quebec section

Highlights of this section...

  • 0km:  Cornwall Canal
  This canal is all that remains of the original historic Cornwall Canal, which was flooded in 1958 to make way for the St. Lawrence Seaway. A 4.4 km dedicated multi-use path now follows the south side of the old canal, allowing travelers to ride right along the water’s edge. Parking available at the western tip of Second St.

  • 4.4km:  Lamoureux Park  
Located right on the banks of the St. Lawrence River, this vibrant park offers plenty of sights and activities for the whole family. Tour the Eco Gardens or catch a show at the Bandshell. The park also houses a clock tower, children’s playground, the Cornwall Community Museum, an aquatic centre, and a marina. A historical plaque tells the story of the founding of Cornwall.

For walkers, the park provides a 3 km return trip along the Waterfront Trail with plenty to see and do. Parking is available at the west end of the park. Washrooms at the Cornwall Civic Complex and Aquatic Centre.


Seasonal Events
All summer long, the Lion's Club Bandshell in Lamoureux Park features “Summer Arts in the Park”. Events include premier performances, puppets and poetry, showcases of local artists and international touring companies, musicians and writers. Calendar of Events at www.cornwalltourism.com.

If you’re around in July, the “Kinsmen Cornwall Lift-Off” is not to be missed. Take a ride in a hot-air balloon or check out music and events at this four-day celebration that takes place in Lamoureux park. Find out more at www.lift-off.ca.


Gananoque

girls walking a dog in gananoqueWalkers, Families on Wheels and Bladers:
Water St. to King St.

Situated on the banks of the St. Lawrence River, Gananoque is a charming town with lots of beautiful historical architecture. Take a stroll along the river, visit historic 1000 Islands village and then head north to the old downtown. A possible side trip follows the Gananoque River.
  Approx. 1 km (2 km return)

Map: See Map 6-8 in Kingston to Brockville Section

Along this part of the trail...

  • 0km:  Historic 1000 Islands Village 
Located on Water St at the foot of Market St in Gananoque,1000 Islands Village offers a unique gift shop and some charming buildings recreated in a historical style. Parking available on Water St.

  • .3km:  Arthur Child Heritage Museum
 Built in the style of the old hotels from the Golden Era, this building houses a number of exhibits and interactive displays designed to educate and entertain. Explore the War of 1812 and learn about local geography and wildlife.

  • .7km:  Downtown Gananoque 
Downtown Gananoque boasts many magnificently restored buildings and houses. Much of downtown looks as it would have 100 years ago. Head north on Stone Street to get to King Street (stop for some ice cream at Nana Splitz on Stone Street if you’re looking for a treat). End your walk by following King St. east to the Gananoque Chamber of Commerce, where you can connect to other hiking trails in the area.

Side Trip along the Gananoque River
 From King and Park Streets, a scenic hiking trail takes you north along the Gananoque River. A map of the trail can be found at the Gananoque Chamber of Commerce, 10 King St. E.


Other Attractions:

Gananoque Boat Line
 If you have the time, a boat cruise is the best way to explore the Thousand Islands. You won’t want to miss a chance to see the magnificent Boldt Castle, a 120-room century-old castle built on an island in the St. Lawrence River.

1000 Islands Playhouse 
If you’ve still got some energy left, why not catch a play at the celebrated 1000 Islands playhouse. Situated on the banks of the St. Lawrence, the playhouse offers shows throughout the summer. 


Annual Events 
Every August, tourists and vacationers flock to Gananoque for the Festival of the Islands, one of the largest celebrations in Eastern Ontario. This ten-day event offers loads of family-friendly entertainment. Find out more at www.festivaloftheislands.com.

Hamilton to Burlington

kids using binoculars near the lake
(3 trip ideas)

Walkers, Families on Wheels and Bladers -
Confederation Park to Van Wagner's Beach. (eastern side of the Hamilton Recreational Beach Trail) Approximately 2.5 km (5 km return) of restored beaches and sand dunes. Excellent casual eateries and patios along the way. Interpretative panels describe Hamilton's rich waterfront heritage - both natural and cultural.

Lift Bridge to Kinsmen Park: (western side of the Hamilton Recreational Beach Trail) Approximately 3 km (6 km return) of stunning views of Lake Ontario, restored beach lanscapes and sand dunes. Great interpretative panels with historic photos. A must-stop is Dieppe Park.

Cyclists and Bladers -
Confederation Park to Spencer Smith Park - Enjoy a relaxing 11 km ride from (22 km return trip) on off-road trails passing by beautiful sand dunes and restored beaches. Great swimming (yes, in the Lake) at Beachway Park in Burlington. Stop at Scooters in Burlington for an ice cream break.

Map: See Niagara to Hamilton Maps 1-11 and 1-12 

Highlights of this section...

0km:  Confederation Park  84 hectarces of natural space and parkland. For a break from the summer heat, be sure to take in Wild Waterworks -- a water theme park featuring Canada's largest outdoor wave pool (entry fee applies): phone # 1-800-555-8775. If you prefer to swim in the Lake then check out Burlington's Beachway Park described later. Ample parking, washrooms and concessions stands throughout the park. Camping is available at this park.

2.5km:  Van Wagners Beach  Baranga's on the Beach and Hutches. Two great patios. Great fries at Hutches.

4km:  Kinsmen Park  Wading pool, playground, benches, and picnic tables, washrooms and parking.

6.5km:  Dieppe Veteran's Memorial Park  Imagine landing on the beaches of France during WWII, under fire and having to race up the heavy stone beach in full army gear to find cover and begin your advance. This park is designed to recreate this experience and honour the nearly 200 Hamilton residents who lost their lives at this battle.

7km:  Burlington Canal Lift Bridge  Access from Hamilton is found under the bridge itself. On the Burlington side, use great care when crossing Eastport Drive.
The bridge is fascinating to watch - a great piece of engineering ingenuity.

9km:  Beachway Park and Scooters  A wonderful beach with great swimming and shady, mature trees. Great ice cream at Scooters. Washrooms, showers & parking available.

10km:  Spencer Smith Park, Burlington  Beautiful park with lots of programmed events such as outdoor concerts. Visit Burlington Tourism or the lastest events listings. Close to downtown Burlington's shops and restaurants. Parking & washrooms available.

Mississauga-Port Credit, Rattray Marsh

people on a beach and in the waterAs a special treat—take the GO to Port Credit! The station is approximately .5km north of the Trail! Visit www.gotransit.com for fares and schedules.

Cyclists -
 An easy 8 km ride east from Port Credit to Marie Curtis Park (16 km return trip) on off-road trails and residential streets. Feeling energetic--do the whole Mississauga Trail (19 km one way).

 

Walkers, Families on Wheels or Bladers - 
Start in St. Lawrence Park and walk west to Rhododendron Gardens for a lovely 2.5 km (5 km return). If you drive to the area instead of taking the GO train, consider a side trip to Rattray Marsh.

 

Maps: See Hamilton to Toronto Section Maps 2-8 and 2-9 

Highlights of this section... 

  • 0km:  St. Lawrence Park
  You’re in one of the newest waterfront neighbourhoods. You’ll find lots of excellent interpretative signs and exhibits (outdoor) explaining the area’s past as home to the operations of the St. Lawrence Starch Company.

  • 1km:  Port Credit Village Marina  
Vibrant and attractive marina at the mouth of the Credit River. Enjoy lunch as Snug Harbour, which serves excellent family fare at moderate prices. The views of the river are lovely any time of year. Heritage buffs will enjoy the many historic photos of Mississauga’s waterfront. Washrooms, restaurants, shops and parking available.

  • 2km:  Saddington Park
  Popular spot for shore fishing and for remote control power boats. On June 30th to July 2nd the park will be home for the popular Mississauga Waterfront Festival. Washrooms and parking available.

  • 2.1km:  Imperial Oil Site
   After 12 years of negotiation, Imperial Oil and City came to an agreement on how to incorporate the Trail on this former industrial site—once a Texaco refinery.

  • 2.5km:  Ben Machree Park
  This small park is called a window on the Lake. 

  • 2.6km:  Rhododendron Gardens  
Created by Dr. Joseph Brueckner, a retired scientist who wanted to create a “where people can go to find peace and rest from their daily worries, an island where they can find harmony and beauty.” 

  • 5.6km:  Side Trip to Rattray Marsh
  Entrance to the Marsh is located in the southwest corner of Jack Darling Memorial Park, which has playgrounds, splash pads and beaches! Located at the mouth of Sheridan Creek, this is a great example of how people can make a difference. The area was slated for a housing development and marina until concerned citizens rallied to save it. No cycling is allowed in the Marsh.

Port Hope and Cobourg

people playing volley ball in a park(3 trip ideas)

Walkers, Families on Wheels or Bladers - 
Port Hope Town Hall to Gage Creek
  One of Ontario’s most beautiful towns, historic Port Hope on the Ganaraska River boasts well-preserved fine architecture. Begin your trip at the Town Hall following the Ganaraska River to the Lake. Head west toward Alice King Sculthorpe Woodland Marsh. Approximately 3.1 km (6.2 km return).

Cobourg Victoria Park to Peace Park  
Park at the Victoria Park and explore Cobourg’s lively waterfront. Overnight at the popular campground, take an evening stroll on the promenade (1.6 km) and a breathtaking expanse white sandy beach. 2.5 km (5km return).

Cyclists - 
Port Hope to Cobourg  
Experienced cyclists should consider taking in both towns. Involves riding on approximately 4 km of HWY 2 (ample shoulders). Total distance from Port Hope Town Hall to Cobourg Victoria Beach 14.2 km (28.4 km return).

Maps: See Lake Ontario Pickering to Port Hope 3-10 and  Map 4-2 in the Cobourg to Quinte West Section

 

Highlights of this section...

  • 0km:  Port Hope Town Hall
  Beautiful historic streets, interesting shops, restaurants and pubs, take some time to explore the downtown Port Hope before beginning your walk/cycle.

  • .25km:  Keith Richan Ganaraska River Bridge  
Installed in 2002 and named in honour of Keith Richan, one of the founders of the Port Hope Waterfront Trail. Soon this bridge will connect people to an exciting development planned for the western side of Port Hope. Parking and washrooms.

  • .5km:  Marina Beach Park/Caldwell St. Beach
  As you go along the hard packed gravel trail it inclines sharply following the bluffs along the shore. Near Hope Street, you’ll notice a gazebo where many stop for a short break.

  • 2km:  Alice King Sculthorpe Woodland Marsh
  Entrance to a beautiful woodland path that leads to a wetland at Gage Creek. Boy Scouts planted 4,000 trees along this stretch of trail in 1994. 

  • 6km:  Rogers Road in Cobourg
  This small park is called a window on the Lake. 

  • 10km:  Cobourg Peace Park
  Located at the near the mouth of Cobourg Creek where trout and salmon come to spawn.

  • 11km:  Cobourg Harbour (Hibernia St.)  
This year Cobourg will extend the Trail west from the Yacht Club to Bagot Street. South of the trail you’ll experience a rugged, natural pebble beach. The Yacht Club and Marina offer washrooms and refreshments to Trail users. Plenty of parking.

  • 12km:  Victoria Park (Division Street)
  As you approach Victoria Park, it’s hard to imagine that this stretch of waterfront was once home to many industries. The new Rotary Millennium Park is the most recent transformation of old industrial to new recreational uses. In the park you find trees over one-century old. More than beautiful grounds, the park has a playground with splash pad, a pool, campground and bandshell as well as a stunning white sandy beach! Just a short walk north to Queen Street and you’ll find lovely restaurants and shops in downtown Cobourg.


Annual Events  
Cobourg Waterfront Festival is a major musical event every July that attracts thousands of people.

Start the waterfront season every April in Port Hope by visiting the wacky Float Your Fanny Down the Ganny Race!

Port Union

little girl cycling on a path in Port UnionAs a special treat- take the GO to Port Union! The station is approximately .3 km east of the pedestrian tunnel that leads to Port Union Waterfront Park.
  Call 416-869-3200 for fares and schedules.

Walkers , Families on Wheels or Bladers:
  An easy walk or ride through Port Union
Waterfront Park.  
Approx. 1.8 km (3.6 km return)

Maps: Map 2-16 in the Lake Ontario – Hamilton to Toronto Section

Highlights of this section...

  • 0km:  Port Union Village Common  
Your trip starts here. Arrive by Go Transit or park at the Go station. Port Union Waterfront Park is accessible by a pedestrian tunnel at the foot of Port Union Rd, about 300 m west of Rouge Hill Go Station. Parking is also available at East Point Park.


    Port Union Waterfront Park  
This wonderful new amenity is the newest addition to Toronto’s waterfront park system and showcases a brand new stretch of Waterfront Trail. Complete with cobble beaches and a major peninsula just south of the pedestrian access, this park provides scenic vistas, natural landscape and a great playground for children. Take a stroll along the beach and enjoy nearly 2 km of newly built Waterfront Trail.

  • 1.8km:  Highland Creek
  The newly built bridge over Highland Creek marks the western end of Port Union Waterfront Park. If you want to continue your hike from here, on the far side of the bridge you’ll find a connection to the Highland Creek Trail. This trail follows the creek north and many feel it’s among the best ravine trails in Toronto.


Port Weller to Port Dalhousie 

a guy standing near a lake in the park(3 trip ideas)

Walkers and Families on Wheels - 
Port Weller - Happy Rolph Bird Sanctuary to Malcolmson Eco Park, approximately 2.5 km one way (5 km return trip).

Port Dalhousie - Tour around the old port, approximately 2 km leisurely stroll. Take in shops, patios, beach, lighthouses and and ride the antique carousel.

Cyclists - 
Port to Port - Enjoy a relaxing 10 km ride from Port to Port (20 km return trip) on off-road trails and residential streets. Break at Port Dalhousie.

Maps: Lake Ontario - Niagara to Grimsby Section Maps 1-3 and 1-4

Highlights of this section...

  • 0 Happy Rolph’s Bird Sanctuary and the 9/11 Walkway
:  The sanctuary offers picnic areas, a playground and a farm petting zoo. Take in the beautiful grounds that feature one of Canada’s finest rhododendron collections. Home to hundreds of migratory birds.
    Parking and washrooms, some concession stands. 

  • 2 Lock One
:  If the timing’s right you may enjoy the treat of seeing one of the large ships that use the Welland Canal. To your south you’ll see the gateway to the Greater Niagara Circle Route. Continue west on the Waterfront Trail and you’ll pass through a wonderful eco-park. 

  • 2.3 Malcolmson Eco Park (Entrance): 
Look around you to see a fresh new approach to creating parks. Rather than formal gardens, this park will restore the natural habitats of Carolinian forest, Savannah grassland and wetland environment. Stonedust paths take you through its 36 acres. Look for the Waterfowl Pond, Amphibian Wetland and the Greenhouse Compound. 

  • 3.5 Municipal Beach:  
Just north of Malcolmson Eco Park and on the Lake.
  • Public washrooms and swimming available.

  • 10 Port Dalhousie (Lakeside Park):  
Beautiful, vibrant, historic harbour offering many restaurants and patios, quaint shops, theatre, gardens and boat tours. By the lake you’ll discover a wonderful beach where you can swim, restored 19th century lighthouses, picnic pavilions and an antique carousal, which you can ride for just 5 cents! Take in the area’s rich heritage on one of many historic walking tours available.
    Parking and washrooms available.

Lynde Shores Conservation Area to Second Marsh 

people using the water front trail in a park

(2 trip ideas)

Walkers, Families on Wheels or Bladers - 
Rotary Sunrise Park to Thickson Woods offers a wonderful waterfront excursion for the family! You’ll pass by great playgrounds and an expansive meadow –a birders paradise and end at Thickson's Woods -the last remnant of old-growth white pines on the north shore of Lake Ontario. Save some energy to hike the Wood’s enchanting paths! (3.5km, 7km return). Starting at Heydenshore Kiwanis Park cuts the trip down to 3 km one way)

Cyclists - 
Start at Lynde Shores Conservation Area at the western edge of Whity and cycle to Second Marsh for a brisk but beautiful 19 km (38 km return trek). Catch a break at Lakeview Park in Oshawa before visiting the Marsh. If that seems too daunting, start at Thickson Woods to reduce the mileage to approximately 20 km return.

Maps: See maps 3-3 to 3-5 in Lake Ontario – Pickering to Port Hope Section

Highlights of this section...

  • 0 km:  Lynde Shores Conservation Area: Visit this stunning natural area with access to two provincially significant wetlands. Great as a destination itself. Be sure to bring bird seed as the chickadees will land on outstretched hands to feed.
  • 5 km:  Port Whitby
  Wonderful new clubhouse located on a natural harbour. Washrooms, restaurant, lounge and parking.

  • 5.6km:  Rowe House Museum  
Tribute to the tenacity of local heritage enthusiasts. Enjoy various historical and other exhibits in this beautifully restored home that belonged to the first mayor of Whitby Captain James Rowe.
    Washrooms and parking available. 

  • 6.5km:  Rotary Sunrise Park
  Long pier stretching out into Lake Ontario and beautiful pergola.

  • 7.1km:  Heydenshore Kiwanis Park  
Great playground for kids under the shade of mature trees. Lovely beach.

  • 9.4km:  Thickson Woods
  This is last remnant of old-growth white pines on the north shore of Lake Ontario. Its forest paths are enchanting and you can easily spend 30 minutes hiking among its treasures. This is a real favourite with kids. Just north of the Woods is a meadow. Both the forest and meadow were purchased and cared for by dedicated volunteers striving to protect this natural asset. 

  • 12.6km:  Lakefront West Park  
New addition to Oshawa’s waterfront park system.

  • 17 km:  Lakeview Park
  Vibrant waterfront park with excellent beach and 3 museums with interesting stories to share. Playgrounds and concessions stands.
    Washrooms and parking available.

  • 19.4km:  Second Marsh  
Largest remaining urban wetland in the GTA, Second Marsh is another testament to people stepping up to protect our natural heritage. The Marsh has a network of trails, boardwalks and lookouts with excellent interpretation panels to help explain the significance of the marsh. The Waterfront Trail takes you through the Marsh along its edge, which is stunning, but you should leave some time to explore the paths. The Marsh hosts many educational events and walking tours. Visit http://secondmarsh.outdoorontario.ca/ for more information.

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