Summer is in full swing and it’s time to get outdoors!
Luckily, for those living in Ontario, there’s a vast and permanently protected Greenbelt just waiting to be explored. From Cobourg to Niagara, it encompasses nearly 2 million acres of farmland, forests, beaches, and natural areas and offers a wide range of activities and adventures.
Whether you’d like to strap on your boots for a scenic hike, or you prefer to sip on a delicious local wine – the Greenbelt has you covered (and so do we!)
Here are our top 5 picks for things to do and see in the Greenbelt this summer:
1. Sample fresh local food and specialty wines.
Buy locally grown fruits and vegetables, along with meats and cheeses from one of 5,500 farms in the Greenbelt. Ontario’s iconic Holland Marsh is a vegetable basket with deeply fertile soils, and the famous Niagara Peninsula has an optimal climate to grow tender fruits such as peaches, plums and cherries. Meet and greet your local farmer at a farmers market, and cook up a new recipe with what’s in season!
Don’t forget to pair your meal with an award-winning VQA (Vintner Quality Assurance) wine made exclusively with Ontario-grown grapes. Niagara region is the Greenbelt’s wine capital with over 88 wineries, so raise a glass of Ontario’s finest.
2. Take a spin on the Greenbelt’s cycling route.
Lush forests, sparkling rivers and welcoming communities await you in the Greenbelt’s beautiful, protected countryside. Enjoy the day exploring part of a 475 kilometre signed cycling route spanning six Greenbelt regions from Niagara to Northumberland.
3. Hike Canada’s largest network of trails.
Breathe fresh air on a walk or hike along more than 10,000 kilometres of Greenbelt Walk trails. There are options for every fitness level, whether you’re exploring the Bruce Trail, Oak Ridges Moraine Trail or Ganaraska Trails. If you plan ahead, you might stumble upon one of the Greenbelt’s spectacular waterfalls. In fact, Hamilton is known as the Waterfall Capital of the World thanks to the Niagara Escarpment which runs through it, creating perfect conditions for over 100 majestic cascades.
Download an easy-to-use PDF guide for your hike. It contains maps, detailed directions and notes about unique local flora and fauna.
4. Taste the culture.
Bordering our bustling cities are the Greenbelt’s quaint towns and villages. Here you can indulge in the flavours of artisanal cheeses, premium local brews, explore antique shops and scenic outlooks. Try Pine Farms Orchard, a little farm in King Township with a bakeshop and year-round sit-down café, apple orchard, play area and farm animals for kids.
5. Visit a world-class conservation area.
Take a refreshing dip in the turquoise waters at Bruce Peninsula, zip-line through tracts of ancient forests, or camp under a starry night sky. You’re likely to get a glimpse of wildlife in these areas as the Greenbelt’s network of lakes, wetlands, river valleys, and forests are important ecological corridors for a range of species including 78 species at-risk. Grab your binoculars to catch a glimpse of rare hawks, owls, or even flying squirrels.
So, what are you waiting for? Get outdoors and explore the beautiful landscapes Ontario’s Greenbelt has to offer.