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.
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.
Strangely, on this beautiful late Friday afternoon there are few people around.
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.
This Diva let me get real close…
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.
And a cute garden bench/sculpture for the little ones.
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.
There’s a tour boat which offers lunch and sunset cruises up and down the river, although not this year.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The road in front of it is so narrow, that 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.
Switching venues now to the park where the river meets the lake.
The darker blue water denotes the deeper shipping channel used by the Lakers – the big freight boats.
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.)
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.
There are small strips of parkland here and there along the river road, with lots of ancient willow trees lining the banks.
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.
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.