We had another magnificent day for our hike, sunny and clear, a welcome breeze cooling us gently along the waterfront, and several shady woodland sections to break up the open meadow sections of direct sunlight.
This is a great trail, starting close to Borer’s Falls with views from the top of the escarpment, and meandering through the Pine Arboretum of the Royal Botanical Gardens. We stopped briefly at the Bruce Trail headquarters at Raspberry House before continuing along the trail into the coastal wetland sanctuary of Cootes Paradise and the Marsh Walk, located at the west end of Hamilton Harbour.
Established in 1927 for its significance as a migratory bird stopover, Cootes Paradise is RBG’s largest and most diverse sanctuary including 16 creeks and 25 kilometres of shoreline. Captain John Coote was a military officer stationed with the British contingent at Fort George near what was then known as Newark and is now Niagara-on-the-Lake. Captain Coote and his co-officers often made the trek from Fort George to the coastal marsh at the west end of Lake Ontario for hunting as huge numbers of waterfowl used it as a resting and staging area during the times of migration in the spring and fall. It was considered a hunter’s paradise and became known as Coote’s Paradise. Thankfully it is now a conservation paradise!
These trails are well groomed and easy to follow, with interpretive signs along the way – a lookout spot along the Marsh Walk explaining how Cormorant bird droppings had killed all the trees on Hickory Island and Rat Island, for instance. We were joined in the Pine Arboretum by a pleasant RBG guide who provided additional information and trail tips.
We enjoyed seeing purple irises, orange lilies and pink vetch along the boardwalk, a snake basking in the bulrushes, swans nesting in the harbour, meadows of wildflowers and songbirds in the trees.
We found a shady picnic table to enjoy our snacks and, as usual, managed to find an amazing patio restaurant in Dundas afterwards to celebrate another fantastic hike.
Date: June 26, 2015
Trail Guide: http://www.torontohiking.com/tohi/royal-botannical-gardens-north-shore.html
Distance: 14 kms, intermediate
Who: Mary, Anne, Pam, Nancy, Sari, Liz, Charlotte and Oatie