Nothing says summer like a picnic in the park. Sandwiches, lemonade and watermelon, all set on a colourful table cloth make for the quintessential summer combination.
After touring some
of Burlington’s best parks back in the spring (on Adventure #31), we wanted to discover even more.
I thought it would be fun to do a “progressive picnic” in which we’d eat successive courses of our meal at different parks across Burlington.
Actually, Lowville Park is home to five picnic areas for groups as large as 150 people. These areas are popular spots for company, church and family picnics with prime dates being snapped up as soon as reservations open in early January each year. There are plenty of unreserved tables too, so you’re always welcome
to drop in.
The picnic spot we chose was right along Bronte Creek. There were many kids exploring the creek looking for critters and crawfish.
Lowville Park is packed with everything you’d want in a park: big shady trees, nature trails along a winding creek and a large playground. There are little things that make a difference too such as plenty of free parking and washrooms with soap!
Across the street from Lowville Park is the Walt Rickli Sculpture Garden. This is your chance to play a large outdoor xylophone and explore many other unique water and stone sculptures created by this master craftsman.
This special garden (open to the public at no charge) sits behind the Lowville Bistro, an upscale casual dining establishment originally constructed in 1853.
For our second course, we drove from Lowville to Aldershot to visit Hidden Valley Park.
Hidden Valley Park is, well, a bit hidden. From Plains Road, turn North on Howard Road and follow it to the heart of Hidden Valley Park. As you drive into the park, you’ll see an entrance on your left to a multi-use path leading to the Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG). This trail offers a peaceful hike to RBG Centre and connects to the many kilometers of RBG trails.
From the main parking lot, a bridge over Grindstone Creek extends to a “hidden” picnic area within Hidden Valley. This is just one of six reserved picnic areas at this park, with the largest accommodating 250 people.
We quickly ate our roast beef and turkey sandwiches — all the boys wanted to do was play on the nearby swing set.
This area of the park is slated for redevelopment with construction expected to begin late this year and be completed in time for next summer. The plan calls for a new splash pad, more playground and swing equipment, a gazebo, sitting areas and new pathways. We hope these great swings remain!
Before departing Hidden Valley, we drove through this tunnel below Highway #403 to visit the “lost world” on the other side. For a description of what I mean, read about our previous visit to this community as part of Adventure #44.
Our final park visit of the day was along Lakeshore Road at Sioux Lookout Park.
This is smaller park compared to the previous two and does not host reserved picnic areas. There are a handful of tables scattered along the waterfront.
Sioux Lookout Park is one of a number of “Window to the Lake” locations in Burlington. With about two-thirds of our waterfront privately owned, these small parks that dot the Waterfront Trail provide a quiet spot to stop and relax.
Watermelon and pastries make up the final course of our progressive
A short trail through the woods leads to Lake Ontario.
A large map orients visitors to where they are on the Waterfront Trail. This is one of the original sections of the province wide trail that originally opened in 1995 and now stretches along both Lake Ontario and Lake Erie from the Quebec border to Windsor.
As a warm summer breeze swept over the park, we reluctantly packed up our picnic basket and folded up our table cloth one last time.
Our first-ever progressive picnic across Burlington was a success! Were we crazy for doing this or might this be something you want to try too?