A Waterfront Walk

In an attempt to hold onto summer for as long as possible, I’ve been walking along the waterfront recently.  While none of these parks are close enough for my daily constitutional, they are more scenic options when I want to add a few extra steps to my exercise routine or work off some calories from the fall baking.   Plus a change of scenery is always good, never more so this pandemic year.  

Centennial Park - Sign Great Lakes Waterfront Trail

Our first park was designated in honor of Canada’s centennial year, 1967, and occupies prime real estate along the bay – a handy venue for all those nearby condo owners.

Centennial Park

Strangely, on this beautiful late Friday afternoon there are few people around.Centennial Park - flowers

Just a few seagulls preening for a photo-op.   The flower beds in the park grounds have been sadly neglected this year due to the cancellation of most maintenance services, but the urns are still pretty.

Centennial Park - Seagull

This Diva let me get real close…Centennial Park - Seagull closeup

until she got annoyed (see Wordless Wednesday) and flew away. 

There’s a fountain where you can stand in the mist and get cooled off.  Centennial Park - fountain

And a cute garden bench/sculpture for the little ones. Centennial Park - Bench turquoise

If you follow the long boardwalk all the way around, there’s a boat ramp and a small marina on the other side of the bay, with an over-priced outdoor restaurant where I had one of the worst meals ever and never went back, despite the scenic view.

Centennial Park - Marina and  restaurant

The big yacht on the right is mine…..someday…..

There’s a tour boat which offers lunch and sunset cruises up and down the river, although not this year.  Centennial Park - boat - Duc du Orleans

Let’s hop over to the Beach Park now. While it may be unusual to have a beachfront park in the middle of a city, a few forward-thinking city founders, aided by a very generous donation from a rich benefactor back in the Great Depression, ensured that beach access would be available to all, not just those lucky enough to own a house with their own private beach. Of course at the time of the purchase, the park was at the edge of city development. In addition to the 3000 foot stretch of sandy beach, there’s a hundred acres of trees with walking trails, a children’s animal park and a small inland pond perfect for winter hockey. (We may return here later this fall for a leaf-peeping tour.)

This is a picture of the beach in the 1950’s before the parking lot was paved. Sadly there has been so much erosion from high lake levels in the past few years, they may have to un-pave the parking lot to salvage some of the sand.

Canatara Park - Birch tree

I was upset to see that half of my favorite birch tree had collapsed onto the ground, it’s roots uplifted by the pounding waves.

Canatara Park - rocks

There’s so little beach left at this end of the park that they’ve installed a new row of arbor stone to try and prevent any further erosion.

The groynes are all under water now, but the sailboats were out, and so were the kayaks. Canatara Park - kayaks

In my younger years, many a summer weekend would be spent under a beach umbrella with a book and a cooler of snacks and beverages.

Let’s go further up the lake to a place I blogged about a few weeks ago in On The Waterfront. While the dance pavilion may be long gone, you can sit in the gazebo or on a park bench and admire the view.

We picnicked in this park every summer Sunday when I was a kid, but the beach is washed away now and the waterfront shored up by expensive arbor rock.  Brights Grove beach

The road in front of it is so narrow, Brights Grove beachthat I wonder how long it will be before it’s closed and people won’t have access to their property.   The waves were so wild during the winter storms last year they were lapping at the porch of my favorite house.  Brights Grove Park - house

Switching venues now to the park where the river meets the lake.

Bridge park

The darker blue water denotes the deeper shipping channel used by the Lakers – the big freight boats.

Bridge Park - sailboat

This area is lined with park benches where you can watch boats heading out into the lake. It’s always a popular spot because of the refreshing lake breezes even on the hottest summer day, plus the chip trucks and ice cream parlors nearby.

Let’s follow these tubers downriver to the marina. (Note: tubing is a dangerous sport due to the swift current here but people do it anyway.)

Bridge Park - tubing

This larger marina has berths for sailboats during the season. If I was ever fortunate enough to own a waterfront condo I wouldn’t want one with three floors though, even if I could tie my boat up out front.

I wonder if the condo owners ever worry about the high water levels, which is even more of a problem downriver. So let’s visit our last park downriver – unfortunately it was an overcast day.

The clouds get in the way…..

There are small strips of parkland here and there along the river road, with lots of ancient willow trees lining the banks.

Downriver park - willow tree

In some places the water level is so high the grass around the tree trunks is  swampy, and it’s only a matter of time until they are washed away too.  Many of the docks are almost level with the water now, surely a worry for the homeowners. 

Downriver park - sunflowers

These cheerful sunflowers are announcing fall….

My mother enjoys going for a Sunday drive along the river and looking at all the big houses, but we hardly ever see anyone sitting outside. I wonder if people who have waterfront property really appreciate it?

I’ve always felt a sense of calm being by the water, probably the legacy of two sets of water-dwelling ancestors. I could sit for hours with a coffee and just enjoy the view. Unfortunately the only park close enough for me to visit on a regular basis, is overrun by a gazillion Canadian geese, year round. The constant aggravation of having to watch where you step and/or clean your shoes is not worth the trip, although I did visit last March to take a picture of the two resident mute swans. They need to relocate some of the population and train the rest of them to migrate south like good little geese should.

I hope you have enjoyed this waterfront tour as we say goodbye to summer for another year.

My favorite picture even if there are clouds in the sky!

29 thoughts on “A Waterfront Walk

  1. ruthsoaper says:

    Hi Joni. I just wondering which lake, river and bay these are. I have seen the Duc D’ Orleans before. I think that’s the one they refer to as the party boat. That willow tree is just gorgeous. I wonder how old it is.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Anne says:

    I have thoroughly enjoyed this excursion with you, even though the concept of the beach / road / trees being washed away seems to be so real.Is the human desire to ‘tame’ nature ever really worthwhile in the long run? You have taken some lovely photographs to sustain you during the winter to come. Thank you for sharing them!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Joni says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed it Anne…..I envy you as you start into your summer season as they are predicting a dreadful “snow train” winter, a meteorological phrase that was new to me I guess meaning one snowstorm after another. In the present moment, we are having a week of lovely weather, cooler but sunny with refreshing breezes every day. I wish it could stay that way.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Jo Shafer says:

    Blue skies and blue waters are so refreshing, even just to look at. I found it easy to imagine myself walking along with you, or all alone, breathing deeply the last of summer’s air. Sadly, it’s climate change that raising water levels. I read just this morning that these changes are occurring more rapidly than was previously predicted. Whooee. In the meantime, I’m glad that you found a bit more summer to enjoy. Our area is already into cloudy/smoky days, although cool; some areas worse than others. Has the smoke clouds from western fires reached you all yet?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Joni says:

      Jo we haven’t experienced any smoky or haze or anything from the wildfires here in the central provinces, although I’ve read the east coast provinces have, even as far as Europe and BC of course esp Vancouver. It must be the way the air currents are drifting across the country. We’ve been having some of our best weather of the summer, warm days around 18 C with refreshing breezes and every day sunny for a week. I wish it would stay that way. I agree re the climate change – it’s only going to get worse….and a dreadful winter in store with violent storms predicted.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Dave says:

    Three thoughts: 1) Your photographs are beautiful – did you take them all on this one walk? 2) I never tire of looking at sailboats (and I’m not a sailor by any means). The ones with the tall sails look like something out of nature – not man-made. 3) I’m reminded our countries share the Great Lakes. I think that’s an interesting fact. I suppose those that lie on the border are carefully patrolled. Thank you for sharing this summer walk with us, Joni.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joni says:

      Thanks Dave. I’m glad you enjoyed it.
      The photos were taken on different days as I visited each of the five parks on a different day as I’m seriously out of shape not having walked all summer as it was just too hot & humid. I had great weather for most of them, except the last park when it was cloudy. This week we are having another spell of beautiful weather, cooler (18 C) but sunny with nice fresh breezes. I wish it would stay like this. I love the sailboats too, to look at but not actually be on one. As for the shared border if you check out the background of the picture with the guys floating down the river in the inner tubes, there is your country and your flag right across the way! (My blog is kind of anonymous so I won’t say where exactly) They have police/security boats, and helicopters go overhead occasionally but I’m not sure how much they patrol the border, maybe more so right now with it being closed to all but essential traffic.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Joni says:

      Thank you so much and for reading! I tried to put a caption on the willow tree picture, wondering how old it was, but had problems with the new editor. Yes, I wonder what it has witnessed in history?


    • Joni says:

      Thanks Kate! We are having such a spell of nice sunny weather with lovely breezes, that I don’t mind if the evenings are cooler! Trying to store it all up for the miserable winter to come.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Linda Schaub says:

    This is very picturesque Joni – what a beautiful day it was with the blue sky, the water, the seagull and boats – just picture perfect. I like to stroll along the riverfront. How far was this from where you live? I hear we have nice weather through Monday as of now – that is wonderful news after the heat, humidity and sometimes volatile storms we have had this season.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joni says:

      Oh no Linda….I walked on five different days! I’m too out of shape from not walking all summer to do them all in one day, plus two of them were further away, although all are within a 45 minute drive. I don’t walk as much as you do even when I’m used to it, so I had to split them up. We are having gorgeous weather now – a week of sunny days, 18-20 C with NO rain in sight!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Okay, I wasn’t sure how close it was Joni – that’s a long drive, but almost like Lake Erie Metropark for me. I take surface streets to get there, a simple route, but from my house to inside the park at Cove Point is 16 miles one way. The park is five miles so I drive from one side to the other side – I would walk, but ten miles is too much at one time. Yes, don’t want to walk too much at one time as you will get shin splints. I did this one time on a beautiful day in October when I first began walking – got shin splints and was out of commission for a week or more. Going down the stairs too many times will do that to me too. Found that out when I was lugging home groceries in the Fall and made many trips downstairs and the next day, I could barely walk down the stairs. You learn and don’t do it again! Now I leave half the bags in the cellarway or upstairs and take them down a few days later. I always stop at Elizabeth Park when I go to Lake Erie Metropark and it is along the same route, so that works well for me. We had a great week of weather and coming up good as well. Going to work in the yard after I return from walking on Sunday – I’ll bring everything in – garage and downstairs.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. J P says:

    Like you, I am captivated by the water and your photos gave me a 3 minute vacation.

    We have spent some time along the eastern side of Lake Michigan and it is a favorite place for us. As for the boats, I think I’ve reached the age where I prefer looking at the boats of others to having one of my own.

    Liked by 1 person

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