Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Doggin Toronto: Where To Hike With Your Dog When In Hogtown

Doggin Toronto: Where To Hike With Your Dog When In Hogtown Many of High Park’s 400 acres were donated by George Howard, Toronto’s first formally trained architect, in 1873. Well-maintained walking paths connect manicured gardens on the west side to forest land on the east side. A highlight of the park is Grenadier Pond, supposedly named for British soldiers who fell through its ice rushing to defend the city from American attack in the War of 1812. High Park, at Bloor Street West and Parkside Drive also sports 24-hour off-leash areas at Dog Hill northeast of the Grenadier Restaurant and west of the Dream Site. Nearby, Bronte Creek Provincial Park, 20 minutes to the south, serves up some pleasant trails to hike with your dog. Although this wide stream travels 32 miles to the mouth of Lake Ontario, it was known as Twelve Mile Creek by settlers who came to operate mills along its many rapids and waterfalls. The village of Bronte, named for the large estate granted Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson for his naval victory in the Battle of Trafalgar, grew up on the stream and became a major port for shipping wheat in the mid 1800s. The creek took the same name in the 1930s. Much of the lands here devoted to agriculture have reverted back to deciduous forests that provide a quiet, pastoral backdrop to canine hiking in Bronte Creek. A selection of short trails explore the best example of prairie vegetation in greater Toronto. Canine hikers will want to head first to the Leash Free Path to let your dog run through tall grass for nearly a mile. All the hiking is non-strenuous on the valley rims along Bronte Creek and the only trail that is not barrier-free is the stacked loop Half Moon Valley Trail. Staircases smooth out any steep segments 80 feet above the busy waters. The longest trail in the park - still not two miles long - is the Ravine Trail. Here a dark coniferous forest guards overlooks of the Bronte Creek ravine. Make your way down to the stream for playful canine aquatics. To find Bronte Creek Provincial Park from the Q.E.W. take Exit 109, Burloak Drive and turn right. The Day Use Area will be on the right hand side. copyright 2006 Doug Gelbert is the author of over 20 books, including The Canine Hiker’s Bible. To subscribe to his FREE Newsletter on hiking with your dog and receive a copy of Rules for Dogs in 100 of the Most Popular National Park Service Lands, visit . In the warmer months he leads canine hikes for tours, guiding packs of dogs and humans on hiking adventures. Tours, ranging from one-day trips to multi-day explorations, visit parks, historical sites and beaches.

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