The Only Burlington Picnic Resource You Will Ever Need

Adventure #55.

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.

Lowville Park sign

Our first stop was Lowville Park for summer salads and bruschetta. We’d been here before for the Lowville Winter Games and Bronte Creek Family Fun Day, but hadn’t tried the picnic area.

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

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to drop in.

Appetizer at Lowville Park

The picnic spot we chose was right along Bronte Creek. There were many kids exploring the creek looking for critters and crawfish.

Catching critters in the Bront Creek

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!

Swings at Lowville Park

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.

Walt Rickli Sculpture Garden

This special garden (open to the public at no charge) sits behind the Lowville Bistro, an upscale casual dining establishment originally constructed in 1853.

Lowville sculpture

For our second course, we drove from Lowville to Aldershot to visit Hidden Valley Park.

Hidden Valley Park sign

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.

Hidden Valley Park RBG trail

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.

Bridge to Hidden Valley Park picnic area

Long picnic table at Hidden Valley Park

We quickly ate our roast beef and turkey sandwiches — all the boys wanted to do was play on the nearby swing set.

Picnic at Hidden Valley Park

These must be the largest swings in Burlington — they are very tall allowing kids to get a lot of air time! They seem to be a holdover from another era, because you don’t see them like this anymore. Hidden Valley Park swings

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!

Hidden Park swings

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.

Hidden Valley tunnel under highway 403

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 sign

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.

Window to the Lake Burlington

Watermelon and pastries make up the final course of our progressive

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Dessert picnic at Sioux Lookout Park

A short trail through the woods leads to Lake Ontario.

Trail to the water's edge

Lake Ontario shoreline

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.

Waterfront Trail sign Burlington

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.

Sioux Lookout Park Burlington

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?

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