5 top spots to see the fall colours in Halton

 Friday, September 22, 2017     Suzanne Hooker     The Orchard Neighbourhood Community Information - The Orchard

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The end of summer can be a melancholy period for many of us as we close our pools, think fondly of our summer vacation and get into the regular routine of school, work and extracurricular activities. And while fall may mean for some that winter is near, for others it’s the ushering in of arguably the most colourful season of the year! With that in mind, we thought we would help you uncover some of the great places in Burlington, Halton and the vicinity that can provide a glimpse into this bonanza of colour.

1)    Bronte Creek Provincial Park (and Bronte Creek Trail)

One of the big bonuses for living where we do in The Orchard and Bronte Woods is the fact we have a huge provincial park that borders onto our neighbourhood. Indeed Bronte Creek Provincial Creek offers incredible views of the fall foliage, especially in the valley area surround Bronte Creek.

Bronte Creek Trail (a.k.a. Old Burloak Road) offers us much of this same view complete with a beautiful and fully paved walking and bike path that stretches all the way from Upper Middle Road to the south to almost Dundas Street in the north. Best of all, you can access and use this pathway for free!

2)    Lions Valley Park

Located in north central Oakville, Lions Valley Park is often a forgotten entity. It encompasses the gorgeous 16 Mile Creek valley area and is located just north of the famous Glen Abbey Golf Club. You can access this recently renovated park from Dundas Street just east of Fourth Line.

There you will find a large, fully paved parking lot and a path system that has been rebuilt as part of their extensive renovations. This park offers beautiful views of the creek, complete with elevation changes up the valley bank along with a wide variety of trees and other plant life.

3)    Spencer Gorge/Webster and Tew Falls

Located down the QEW in Hamilton, this scenic location is built right into the Niagara Escarpment, making for a gorgeous backdrop from which to take in the changing colours of the fall season. Throw in a couple of waterfalls and you may have the perfect place to snap a few photos of the fall colours.

Note that there is no parking on weekends and holidays at Spencer Gorge, Webster or Tew Falls. Instead you must park nearby and board a shuttle bus to the park. Click here for more information.

4)    Rattlesnake Point Conservation Area

Another conservation area that’s part of the Niagara Escarpment is Rattlesnake Point in Milton. It offers visitors a panoramic view of the escarpment and surrounding countryside and is the perfect place to take a long hike, bike ride or a short walk to take in the fall colours. Buffalo Crag Lookout has arguably the best views on the escarpment so make a point of including this stop on your trip to this park.

5)    Forks of the Credit Provincial Park

For those looking for a destination that’s a little more off the beaten path, a trip to Caledon and the Forks of the Credit Provincial Park would be a great choice. Encompassing the beautiful Credit River, the famous Bruce Trail and untold hectares of unspoiled natural land, the Forks of the Credit is a nice break from suburbia and the hustle and bustle of Burlington.

If you have the time, be sure to make a side-trip to the quaint Town of Erin, which is located only minutes from the park. It will be the perfect cap to a beautiful day!

There are many options available to you when it comes to checking out the fall colours in and around Burlington. If you decide to make the trek to explore these sights, be sure to bring your camera along to capture these incredible images we too often take for granted.

Canada 150 – A BIG reason to celebrate

 Tuesday, May 16, 2017     Suzanne Hooker     The Orchard Neighbourhood Community Information - The Orchard

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Canada’s sesquicentennial birthday has been something many of us have been looking forward to for many years, and as Canada’s big day quickly approaches we thought it would be a great time for us to highlight the many events and activities occurring in and around Burlington in the coming weeks.

We’ve done our best to compile a list of events and activities that will be of interest to those young and old. Please share with us what you will be doing to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday on our Facebook page on our blog site.

1)    Canada 150 Mosaic Mural

The budding artists or seasoned pros will likely have this at the top of their to-do list when it comes to Canada 150. The Canada 150 Mosaic project brings together 150 communities and thousands of participants from across the country to create community murals that celebrate Canada's unique history and culture.

Burlington's mural will be made of 400 tiles. The creation will be taking place on May 21st and 22nd, and Burlington residents are invited to come on one of these days and paint their own tile, which will become part of our mural. Drop in to one of the community painting locations noted below to paint your tile. Everyone is welcome - you don’t need to be an artist to participate but note that due to the limited number of mural tiles being created, this event will operate on a first come, first served basis.

Sunday, May 21, 2017      
Burlington Mall
777 Guelph Line

Monday, May 22, 2017
Art Gallery of Burlington
1333 Lakeshore Road

The unveiling of the completed mural will take place on Canada Day, July 1st at the Burlington Music Centre from 10-10:45am.

2)    Love My Hood

This program, which is unique to Burlington, engages residents to build a healthier city by encouraging them to get together, organize and host their own local events in celebration of Canada 150. The Love My Hood program provides resources, support, funding up to $300 and eliminates some of the common barriers for organizing and hosting your own event.

Love My Hood events can be as big or small as you want them to be. Planning Ideas and Resources have been created to make the process easier and simpler to organize for your neighbourhood. You can learn more about this program by visiting the City of Burlington’s website.

3)    The Student Theatre Canada 150 Chain

This unique event encourages Burlington residents to describe in their own words what it means to be Canadian and how they express their Canadian pride. A ‘link’ to a chain will be created through this process of self-reflection. The chain itself will travel throughout Burlington and will be present at various events honouring Canada's 150th.

You can add your own personal link to this chain, which will be featured at Spencer Smith Park on July 1st, 2017. You can pick up your link at any pool, arena or community centre. When you’ve completed it, bring it back to the same city community building and we will add it to our city-wide chain. Go to the City of Burlington’s website for more information on this unique activity.

4)    Bronte Canada Day festivities

A Canada Day celebration wouldn’t be complete without a fireworks display, right? Well one of the best Canada Day fireworks displays in the west GTA for years is only a short drive away for residents of The Orchard and Bronte Creek. Indeed the Oakville Bronte Business Improvement Area (BIA) event is one of the biggest celebrations in Oakville all summer long!

Located right at the foot of Lake Ontario at the Bronte Heritage Waterfront Park, this festival should prove to be an ideal culmination to the celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday. This free all-day family event will feature activities for the whole family, including:

  • A Farmer’s Market on Ontario Street from 10am to 4pm
  • Vendor Village featuring local crafts and artisans
  • Food vendors
  • Music and performances all day long on three stages
  • Bouncy castles
  • A spectacular fireworks show over Lake Ontario in the evening.

You can learn more about this event by visiting the Town of Oakville’s website.

As you can see, there is a lot to do over the coming weeks in the lead up to Canada Day. We encourage families to use this momentous occasion as a reason to appreciate the many gifts we have in this beautiful country, to share its history and your love for our country with your children and to gather and celebrate a very important period in our country’s history.

However you decide to celebrate Canada 150, we hope you have a ton of fun doing it!

Things to do in Burlington this Family Day

 Monday, February 13, 2017     Suzanne Hooker     The Orchard Neighbourhood Community Information - The Orchard

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It’s hard to believe but Family Day is right around the corner, that February long weekend many Ontarians look forward to as a break from the winter drudgery. So what are your plans for this weekend of family and fun? If you’re like many of us and you have no idea as you just got through Valentine’s Day, here are some local ideas to make the planning process a little easier.

Bronte Creek Provincial Park

Our big neighbour to the east will be hosting some family-friendly activities on the Monday. Visit their Nature Centre for live animals, hands-on activities, crafts and much more. Other park attractions available that day will include the Children's Playbarn, farm animals, tobogganing hill and kilometres of hiking trails suitable for the whole family.

Free Public Skating

For those looking to strap on the skates for free, you have two options in Burlington come Family Day. First off, you can join MPP Eleanor McMahon from 11am-1pm for a free skate at Burlington Central Arena. Free hot chocolate will also be served at this event. Alternatively, you can travel downtown to the Rotary Centennial Pond, weather permitting. Skating is open there from 10am-10pm.

Parks and Recreation Burlington

The city has scheduled a number of activities at several of their facilities throughout the day. Click here to get a complete list of the events for the day. Note that most of these activities are NOT free.

Conservation Halton Parks

If you’re interested in taking a short roadtrip for some Family Day fresh air and much more, then the Conservation Halton Parks should be on your radar. Two of their parks are celebrating Family Day with special events. Mountsberg will be welcoming visitors to their Tales by a Winter’s Fire while Crawford Lake has plans for a very special native event called Snowflakes and Snowsnakes. Go check them out!

The Big Freeze – Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG)

Ice Age anyone (and no, were talking about the animated movie series)? This exhibition is ideal for those fascinated with everything prehistoric and who are interested in learning more about what our world and environment was like 4 million years ago. There’s definitely a lot to see and do at the RBG!

As you can see, there are several options available that should appeal to most everyone. Check things out, talk it over with your family and make plans to get out sometime during the Family Day long weekend for some fun, exercise and most importantly some good old family bonding. Enjoy!

Light up your holiday season

 Tuesday, December 13, 2016     Suzanne Hooker     Community Information - The Orchard

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There is nothing that says the holidays more than Christmas lights. Today you can find lights of all shapes, sizes and colours adorning just about anything you could think of, from trees to reindeers and much more. For me it has always been something special that I look forward to every year at this time.

What has become particularly popular over the years has been the many festivals of lights popping up all around Halton and the Greater Toronto Area. In order to provide you with a guide to some of the more popular locations in and around Burlington, we’ve come up with the following list that you and your family can enjoy in the coming weeks.

1.     Lakeside Festival of Lights – Burlington

Our own festival, located downtown at Spencer Smith Park is arguably one of the most breathtaking. This festival is marking its 21st anniversary of wowing people of all ages. This festival doesn’t just involve your traditional tree lights either. Instead you will find a wide variety of three-dimensional Christmas-themed structures decorated with a multitude of lights. Stroll the grounds any time after dusk from now until January 9th and take in the sights. And don’t forget to bring a hot chocolate and your camera.

2.     Winter Festival of Lights – Niagara Falls

Likely the most famous of the holiday festivals in our area, this one has the distinct benefit of having one of the most breathtaking backdrops in the world. The festival covers 8 kilometres through the Niagara Parks and beyond, and attracts over one million visitors each year. If you’re too busy with Christmas preparations to venture Niagara way anytime soon, fear not as the Niagara Falls festival runs until January 31st. So you have lots of time to take in this extravaganza of lights, click the link above for more information.

3.     The Singleton’s Christmas Light Display – Campbellville

Another local festival of lights that can’t be missed is the one put on by the Singleton family at their country home in Campbellville. This is truly a sight to behold and one you must see if you’ve never had the pleasure of checking it out. And for those like us that haven’t been back in a few years, this is a reminder to go back to see what’s new for this year. Note that this display is only on until New Year’s Eve so be sure to make your way out to 8565 Guelph Line in Campbellville soon.

4.     Light up the Hills – Halton Hills

Until January 3rd, take in the picturesque setting of this once rural region to enjoy the best of what the holiday season has to offer. Located in three distinct communities within Halton Hills, Dominion Gardens Park in Georgetown, Acton Sports Park in Acton plus Shelagh Law Parkette in the hamlet of Glen Williams, this festival offers variety for those interested. Check out one or all three of these beautiful venues as you take a walk through each of these parks.

5.     Cavalcade of Lights – Nathan Phillips Square, Toronto

Celebrate the 50th anniversary of this very popular Christmas tradition. Venture down the QEW by car or train and take in the beauty and energy of this famous venue. Home to Toronto City Hall and just a hop, skip and a jump away from the shopping mecca known as the Eaton Centre, this location provides the ideal setting to experience the joys of the holiday season, do a little shopping, get a bite to eat and even take in a movie or theatre production. One of Nathan Phillips Square’s unique features is the free ice rink you can enjoy (weather permitting). This festival runs until early January.

As you can see, there are lots of choices, both near and far, if you’re contemplating taking in one or more of the festivals of lights displays in the area. If you do, we encourage you to share your photos on our The Orchard and Bronte Woods Facebook page. Happy Holidays everyone!

Fall Fiesta in and around Burlington

 Thursday, October 13, 2016     Suzanne Hooker     The Orchard Neighbourhood Community Information - The Orchard

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While some might consider fall to be the time to hunker down in preparation for winter, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, the cooler more comfortable temperatures provide the perfect environment to get out and enjoy things. And with the many fairs and festivals occurring throughout Burlington and Halton, there is lots to do.

We thought it would be helpful to outline some of the many activities occurring in and around our fair city so that you can identify things you and the family might want to discover during this beautiful time of the year.

  1. Halton Pumpkins to Pastries Trail

Formerly known as The Pumpkin Trail, the name change is indicative of an important addition to this guided trip around Halton Region. Restaurants with special autumn menus are big part of this improved fall festival. Follow the map and discover over 35 different locations. The even have a selfie contest you can enter to win a great weekly prize basket!

  1. Hutchinson Farm

Located north of The Orchard on Walkers Line, this long-time Burlington staple has lots to enjoy during the fall. They have a large pumpkin patch along with gourds and squash for sale. And don’t forget to take a picture with their famous pumpkin totem pole. They also have a pumpkin museum with an array of different pumpkins from around the world, all grown on their farm.

  1. Springridge Farm

Springridge’s infamous Harvest Festival runs on the weekends until October 30th with a variety of activities for the whole family. They include wagon rides, a giant corn maze and trail, a professional puppet show, a spooky Boo Barn and the Fun Farm Yard. There’s also Farmer John's famous pumpkin crop and much more. There is an admission charge of $12 per person.

  1. Parkside Farms

Down the road in beautiful Waterdown is Parkside Farms, a hidden gem with lots to offer. Open weekends in October, you will find wagon rides, a corn maze, a boo barn and lots of animals. There are pumpkins for purchase plus many fall decorations such as Indian corn, corn stalks and straw bales. Check out their Facebook page for the latest news. Admission is $10 for adults and $6 for kids.

  1. Burlington Ghost Walks

Boo! Halloween enthusiasts with a curiosity for the supernatural will revel in the Burlington Ghost Walks tour! This family-friendly activity is good for both adults and children. It involves a tour of downtown Burlington where you will learn about the history of the area. The tour will be led by Patrick Cross, a paranormal researcher and expert who will regale you with stories from the past.

While by no means complete, this list should at least give you some ideas and options to partake in this autumn. Be sure to get out and enjoy. Remember to post your comments or other suggestions on our website or Facebook page.