32 Grenville Street M4Y 1A3



Christopher Greaves

Driving Ontario

These trips can all be made in a day’s drive; although Midland ended up being used as a base for a few days of touring!.

If you would like a full-size original of any of the photos here please contact me .





These are some places I've visited from Toronto. My goals may be different from yours. I reckon on two hours drive from Burnhamthorpe/Highway 427 maximum, because it would also be a two-hour drive back! (London is exactly 2 hours from #427; Coburg about 2 hours).

I like little red-brick towns that have a second-hand bookshop that I can browse while my companion checks out dress shops for bargains. We like family restaurants, cafes and diners because it is easy to strike up a conversation with a local waitress (also costs less!).

The trips are arranged in no particular order, just as I recollect them while scanning a map of Ontario.

You can pick up good maps from the tourist office on Dundas, on the north side, about 50 yards west of Yonge, but be warned - the travel brochures steer you towards money-sucking places of interest; we prefer to ask locals what to see/do once we get there.

You can get rough distances by asking Google Maps for directions, then come back to town by an alternate route.

Trip 1: Port Perry

Walk the streets, visit the shops, drive around the town. I used to service a client in the medical centre across the street from the hospital.

Canoeing from the dock in summertime; we did it once, and it was good value for money (see http://www.chrisgreaves.com/TrippingByCanoeng/PortPerry/PortPerry.htm )

Trip 2: Orangeville

One hour North up Airport Road then West on Highway 9, although we prefer the quieter and scenic Heart Lake Road with its speed traps.

Orangeville is now a dormitory town with a wart-like growth on the western end, and huge malls just off Highway 10.

Ignore all that, park in the main street ("Broadway") and walk. There are a couple of nice but expensive restaurants on the north side of Broadway in the heart of the main street. I've enjoyed meals at both.

Trip 3: Ayr/Paris

I used to visit Paris for sentimental reasons, because I worked in Paris Fr, for 2 ½ years. The Nith river joins the Grand in town; a great sight.

But now my preference is to drive #401 and have breakfast at the (only) café in Ayr; stroll the town, then head to Paris for afternoon tea in the rebuilt bistro/café on the north side of the main street; explore what might be the world's only 3-storey Canadian Tire (from memory, ancient wooden floors), and return to Ayr for the best Pizza ever at their Italian restaurant - get a window table overlooking the lawns and enjoy the dusk.

Trip 4: Ingersoll

Jump off the 401 before you reach London. Several family diners, and nice little shops. There's an ice-cream parlour near the southern limit of the main street, just around the corner from a bank. Huge cones for few dollars.

We lucked out a couple of years ago and hit town on the bagpipe roundup, up the main street then a Tattoo(?) in the park afterwards. Very friendly town folks.

At the North end of the main street is a (for me) fascinating concept in waste management. Householders drop off in one of three categories (e.g. garden waste) and a front-end loader compacts it for cartage Monday morning.

Trip 5: Port Dover

One of several places on the north shore of Lake Erie. Weekends during school vacation it is teenage-girls-in-bikini-land. At any time the local cafes and diners serve good food.

Trip 6: Dunnville

One of several places on the north shore of Lake Erie. Weekends during school vacation it is teenage-girls-in-bikini-land. At any time the local cafes and diners serve good food.

The Grand River, I think, empties into Lake Erie here; I'd like to canoe from the mouth upstream as far as I could go with a sleeping bag and supplies.

Trip 7: Terra Cotta

Almost not out of Toronto now, because Brampton has crept closer while I watch.

There's a snobby restaurant that over-estimates its worth, but also a diner sort of place where the staff are honest.

Our favorite is to take a picnic lunch and snooze on the banks of one of the Credit River branches about ½ mile east of town. I'll try to remember the intersection. (heritage Road & King Street). There's a parking area south side of the E-W road, and about a ¼ acre of lawn right on the banks of the river.

We sit and watch the cars rumble over the bridge.

Trip 8: Bradford

Straight up #400 and hang a right after #9. Lotsa little shops.

Also home to Cathy's Crawly Composters.

Carry on down the main street and you'll come to a bridge as you leave town; here's where I made my first canoe trip in Ontario.

Trip 9: Coburg

Home of CFMX 96.3 FM and some more shops.

On the north side of the main drag, eastern end, is an ice-cream shop opposite a large park which leads to the beach; volleyball tournament around June 19th each year, AFAIK.

Trip 10: Peterborough

Lift locks.

Need I say more?

Trip 11: West Sutton


OK, so my main attraction is canoeing, but the town is pretty good too.

There is a unique coffee shop near the north end of the main street. Also a large and friendly Home Hardware(?) on #48 heading east about ½ a mile out of town.

Trip 12: Milton Zoo


Bell School Line between Derry Road and Sideroad 14, Milton.

It's not a zoo. It's one of those family-oriented pick-your-own-and spend-more-money places pretty well due West of Milton at the foot of the Niagara Escarpment (which, if you look closely, is a huge circular shield of limestone that extends up past Manitoulin and continues around into Michigan!)

Trip 13: St Catherines

I took myself off for a three-day holiday in March 2009 and stayed two nights in a cabin literally on the edge of Lake Ontario.

I amused myself by visiting every second-hand bookstore I could find between St Catherines and Port Colborne, returning for food, reading and a snug harbour each evening.


Welland is interesting, if only for the point where the river travels under the old canal.

On a good day it's great to stop along the new canal and watch the ocean-going freighters glide by. Reminds me of the bypass in the Suez Canal.

Trip 14: Grand Valley

Head to Orangeville (60 minutes), continue west along Broadway out of town (becomes Dufferin County Road 109) for about 20 Km, and turn Right, North, up Water Street to Grand Valley. Nice ice-creams in the little tea shop.

As you drive into town you'll see the river and a spacious picnic park on your right.

Trip 15: Dundas

As in "Dundas Street" which runs westward from Coxwell Avenue in Toronto (Dundas Street East) across Yonge Street (where it becomes Dundas Street West), into Mississauga (Dundas Street East) and across Mississauga (Dundas Street West) etc. through Oakville and Burlington, and no doubt Hamilton to end up in Dundas at the pointy-end of Lake Ontario.

A silted-up canal runs to the downtown core, lots of mosquitoes, midges, mosquitoes, ducks, mosquitoes, geese, mosquitoes, and so on.

More shops, cafes, and not much more than a 90-minute drive from downtown Toronto.

Trip 16: Bloordale Park


Good for a day when you don't feel like a long drive.

Drive and park at Marie Curtis Park, off Lakeshore boulevard on the Toronto/Mississauga border.

Walk upstream as far as the baseball diamonds, then walk back. It's possible to walk/cycle to the QEW, but the path is narrow, weed-infested and rugged.

Get back in the car and drive to Nielsen Park, between Bloor and Dundas, just West of #427.

Walk northwards across Bloor Street, to Saturn Plaza (coffee shop!) at Burnhamthorpe.

The track continues all the way to Centennial Park.

Trip 17: Centennial Park


Lots of parking places. Park at any one and start walking.

The ski hill is Toronto garbage covered with a layer of soil that is washing away into the seepage creek that ultimately merges with Etobicoke creek (and flows through Bloordale and Marie Curtis parks).

Watch youngsters kick the ball and each other, or fall over between first and second base.

Each June(?) there is a huge Rib-Fest. Fireworks on Victoria day, and several open-air free concerts some nights.

On the Rathburn Road (southern) side, is a greenhouse, not a full-fledged botanical garden, but a lovely spot to wander on a cold or rainy day.

Trip 18: Etobicoke Creek

A good-enough starting point is from the Garden centre on Burnhamthorpe road, just west of Mill Road, but they might lock your car in the lot, so consider starting from Ridge Drive instead.

The track continues all the way to #401 just south of the airport; I've cycled it, but the last ½ mile is pretty rough going.



416-993-4953 CPRGreaves@gmail.com

Toronto, Wednesday, August 30, 2017 3:13 PM

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