We were watching the lakeside scenery from canoes, but hiking on the lakeside trail opened a whole new world of nature to us.
The Vicki Barron Lakeside Trail is appropriate for all trail users. It starts close to the store and docking area.
We found its wide base made up of packed gravel screenings that made it suitable for bicycles, wheelchairs and strollers. No motorized vehicles are allowed though. The easy Trail goes all along the lake (see picture # 5) and seemed to be fairly popular with hikers and anglers.
Spring season wildflowers were blooming all along the Trail. However, much winter foliage had not turned into full green yet.
There are two other trails going into the forest.
The toddler had dropped the line with the help of his supervising father and when a fish got hooked, he was jumping with joy. However, when he saw the fish on the hook, his face turned expressionless. He was perhaps not expecting a living being caught by its lip after all.
Fishing boats, gear and baits were available from the store close by. We found the lake to be a haven for anglers young and old alike. The anglers were fishing from boats, the dock and the many areas along the shore. The fishing lines posed some risks to the canoers and kayakers, but soon common sense yielded to courtesy, acceptance for all and extending rights to the others.
Oh btw, jet boating / speed boating is not allowed in the lake, making it attractive for canoers, kayakers, and anglers.
We did not see any sailboat though, although due to the size of the lake setting sales may just be possible.
We noticed that the fish catch were rather high. Even preteen kids and toddlers seemed to have a field day. However, many undersized fish were released back in the waters.
My husband should have enjoyed training the girls on canoeing, but seemed a bit frustrated. His English was not spontaneous enough to give out instructions to the kids on the front side when the canoe began to drift towards the marshes or the bushes with millions of creepy crawlies. The kids only understood English, where as my husband is prone to speaking Engdu (a combination of English and Urdu) when not in a formal office situation. That was a trouble from the get go.
The Island Lake Conservation Area is an all season area opposite Orangeville on the East side of Highway 10.
Water dominates this Conservation Area in the form of bogs, marshes, rivers, creeks and lake itself. And for us, an entourage of 23, it was the lake that was interesting for canoeing and kayaking. Canoes, kayaks, and fishing boats can be had for renting from a store close to the main entrance. We rented out 2 canoes and 1 kayak for the day.
The lake seemed popular due to the long weekend with many people fishing in the boats and on the banks. The lake is rich in life with healthy fish and many people were having a good day. Abundant underwater plants were seen from our canoes that made us nervous, because a flipped canoe could have resulted in entangled feet with a risk of drowning.
By the middle of the day, the kids were taking out canoes and kayaks on their own requiring no instructions. My husband's face was glowing with joy. His hard work in the morning had been rewarded.
The walk on Broadway in Orangeville turned out to be fun and a sheer surprise. It is here where dying maple trees are reincarnated as another being. Lifeless trunks have been carved into eagles, Indians, dancers, fiddlers, bears, historic figures and tree spirits by seventeen renowned carvers, including Colin Partridge, Jim Menken, Walter vanderWindt and Peter Mogensen.
The Art Walk of Tree Sculptures for Orangeville has attracted a lot of attention from residents, visitors and other municipalities since it was initiated in 2002. The project gives trees a new life after they have been declared beyond hope by the municipal arborist.
The best location to observe these tree sculptures in on the north side of Broadway, the main street, west of downtown.
The Tree Sculptures add beauty to the streets, give a distinct flavour to the city of Orangeville, and make it a distinct tourist attraction
Canoeing and kayaking allowed us to explore the shoreline of the lake and observe lots of waterfowl, including Mallard ducks, beavers, an Osprey preying on fish with its lofty nest nearby (picture # 1). On shore, reportedly, deer, red fox, raccoon, porcupines and even flying squirrels make their homes. We saw painted turtles and leopard frogs. We were a little late to observe spring migratory birds through the forest.
We were able to see why Canadian Geese at least are proliferating and becoming a pest (picture # 2).
Wildflowers (picture # 3 and 4) were blooming, but in not as great a number as we have seen in some other conservation areas.
Besides, there seemed to be many plants that looked dry, either failing to turn green (dead) or were waiting for the right time (picture # 5)
Hockley Valley is part of the Niagara Escarpment which was created by a long process of erosion. The escarpment starts from Lake Erie, giving rise to Niagara Falls, then curves around Lake Ontario and reaches northward into Halton Region (covered under Burlington page), passing through the western and northern edges of Peel Region (covered under Mississauga page), cutting across Dufferin County, and continuing to the tip of the Bruce Peninsula and beyond (covered under the pages on Tobermory and Bruce Peninsula National Park), ending at Manitoulin Island.
The Nottawasaga River cuts a picturesque gorge across the escarpment. Forested moraines and open meadows lie upstream, and swamp and bottomland forest spread across the valley floor, stretching for several kilometres.
We hiked in the provincial park in Fall 2009. There were great Fall season views as we walked along the many ridges of the escarpment. The scenic variation included many streams, bridges, woods, meadows and undulations.
We entered the Bruce Trail on the north side of Hockley Road. Now, Hockley Road itself is a scenic road and I recommend a drive by car. In just a few hundred metres, the Trail bifurcated. The Tom East Side Trail went straight ahead while the main Bruce Trail turned left climbing a steep incline to a lookout point.
The trails seemed to be very popular with Chinese visitors as we saw bus load of tourists dropping by and going for the hike.
We took this 2 hour self-guided heritage walking tour after downloading a copy of the walking tour brochure.
We hiked extremely slowly along the streets from where Orangeville originated and saw simple houses and structures from the past. The structures also belonged to the earliest businesses that caused Broadway to boom into main street it is today.
The booklet guide pointed out notable buildings and provided information about the people associated with them. Properties are described in the guide using the name of the original owner or builder, the construction date and street address. Another merit of the booklet was the Architectural terms, although my husband's education in civil engineering (he never practiced it) also came in handy.
Most properties listed on this tour were privately owned so we were cautious in taking pictures and observed them from the sidewalks.
Hardcopies of the walking tour brochure can be picked up at the Orangeville Town Hall or the Orangeville Public Library.