Ashbridges Bay Park

Ashbridges Bay Park located off lakeshore Blvd east of Coxwell avenue is busy all year round, but comes to life during the spring and summer months!  Popular activities include biking, rollerblading, volleyball and sunbathing!

Located in Asbridge's Bay Park is the Ashbridge's Bay yacht Club'; the club dates back to 1932 and moved into its present quarters in 1977.  The park has public boat launches that are available on the first-come, first-served basis, as well as moorings for day use only.  There is also a boardwalk along the shoreline, playground area, water fountains, and a seasonal washroom; the park is a popular spot for family picnics and windsurfing.

As you pass through Ashbridge bay on any given weekend you can smell the charcoal of bbq permeating the air and large family gatherings starting out early to reserve a spot of grass by the beach.  It’s been a tradition for as long as I can remember. The playground is full with happy, screaming kids with their parents as the gulls hover above waiting for more of what remains of a wonderful meal.    As the sun goes down, Ashbridge bay will be lit up for moonlight lovers on the boardwalk.  

CONTACT 2012 Photography Festival

Courtesy of Barry Frydlender, Grosvenor Garden
Courtesy of Berenice Abbott, Blossom Restaurant
If you are a photographer, either novice or pro OR you are interested in the relative art of photography, you must add this to your calendars for the month of May.  The 16th annual CONTACT Photography Festival is the the largest photography event in the world! Toronto is hosting this years event which attracts over 1.8 million people over the entire month of May.
You’ll see over 1000 local and worldwide artists exhibiting their photographic genius at almost 200 venues.  

This all began over 16 years ago when a global interest in street art started to form, which is the theme for this year’s event, entitled “PUBLIC” which showcases social and political issues all in a photographic framework, literally.

For more information including map of exhibit locations, please go to CONTACT 2012 Details

Samuel Smith Park

Recently, we decided last minute to join the others for the 9th annual ‘Sam Smith’ park Clean up on Earth day (Sunday Aprll 22nd).  Sponsored by the city, garbage bags, water and snacks are provided.  Armed with shovels, boots, gloves and rakes, it wasn’t long before the chatter stopped and the work began. 
Toronto still holds a large funding for its Parks and Recreation department, partnered with the Roads it maintains an excellent level of cleanliness all year long.  Shorelines are always bringing in the odd surprises wave after wave, so our work didn’t go in vain.  Unfortunately though while my good camera is in the shop hopefully getting repaired, I did not bring one on Sunday, but went back today instead to try and take some okay pictures!
I had never been to ‘Samuel Smith Park’ before but decided to add this to my blog under exploring parks and trails in the GTA.  Getting there was a great opportunity for us to take the Longbranch streetcar route which incidentally is the longest route on the Transit system. 
The Longbranch route loops into Samuel Smith park.  I was surprised to learn that Colonel Samuel Smith Park was once considered a former weekend getaway for Torontonians in the Victorian Era.   A wide open scenic trail includes hiking along the peninsula on Lake Ontario.  The waterfront has access to rocky beaches, great views including the City of Toronto famous CN Tower along the skyline.  Other activities include bird and boat watching, photography, picnics, and a playground for children to play in.  The observation desks are accessible for viewing turtles, beavers, and different kinds of fish.  In the Winter months, there is now a new skating trail, but as the warmer weather hopefully will stay for a while, the winter is a distant memory for now.

Upper Felkers Falls- Hamilton

Upper Felkers
Felkers Falls is a lovely spot located in amidst a residential neighbourhood.  The Felker’s Falls Conservation area is accessed from the Peter Street trail and follows a loop around to give you lots of great photo-op vantage points.  A nice hike indeed and like many waterflows on the escarpment, there is an upper and lower gorge. 

Felkers Falls is a 22 metre ‘ribbon’ waterfall and falls in the middle of forested trails, river streams, knotted hills, and open hooded caves.  Lucky are those who lives around this urban setting.
For those of you who don’t live nearby, exit the QEW on Centennial Pkwy heading south to head up the escarpment (East mountain).  Once you see Mud st, turn right and again at Paramount Dr. Turn right again onto Ackland Street.  Around the bend, you will see a parking lot.  All signs and maps are there to decide which route you wish to take.  

You can also enter Felkers from Quigley Road, and walk in to get to the falls.  This is a more adventurous way to view as climb over rocks and mud.  There is a clear pathway more or less so sounds a lot worse than it is.  As well, you will pass by Lower Davis Falls.  I didn't really get a good picture as there was no tripod and now I swear by them.  You can't always rely on the steadiness of rock and the view finder doesn't always accurately depict the picture you'll get when you're back home looking at it on your computer.  

This fall, normally rates high out of the top 16 waterfalls in Hamilton as far as accessibility and waterflow.

The setting is peaceful and usually isolated, although occasionally you may find a few people enjoying this hidden treasure as well, so if you think you've discovered paradise, you may have some company...
On a more serious note, there have been several accidents even recently where a young girl fell and was transported to nearby hospital.  It’s been said many times safety first always.  

Lower Chedoke Falls

Lower Chedoke Falls is located off the Chedoke Radial trail, which is part of the Bruce trail.  It crosses the Chedoke Golf course and runs about 2 and half kilometres and transverses the escarpment to Scenic Drive.  There are quite a few falls along the Chedoke trail including the Westcliffe, Cliffview, Denlow, Mountain view, Sanatorium, Beckett, and Denlow. 

You will find more pictures of the Chedoke Trail here on my flickr page

Its a wonderful shared trail with cyclists and pedestrians as well as being wheelchair accessible and showcases beautiful views of the west end of Hamilton and the Dundas Valley below.  Whether you are a jogger, a cyclist, hiker or walker you will find the Chedoke Radial trail with its high hills and low valleys adorned with scenic waterfall views to be a little piece of country in the heart of the city of Hamilton.

Lower Westcliffe Falls & Lower Cliffview Falls

This is a very unique sighting as we see two waterfalls coming from two separate creeks and meet at the same location.  Lower Westcliffe falls is the west half of what appears to be a double waterfall.  The east waterfall is called Lower Cliffview falls.   

You can view this just behind the Chedoke Golf course in Hamilton.  This particular site had visible signs of needing a radical clean-up in the area, and most likely is much more lovely as the brush and foliage comes out towards the latter part of the spring but it still is not without its charm.  

In order to gain access, there is a climb up and around the fence.  Keep in mind that this particular spot has no trail, so it can be slippery and dangerous, so like exploring all waterfalls, be careful!