Archives: RBG

hendrie valley

Being how this winter is so… wintery, really the only choice in the matter with regards to the weather is to either hate every moment of its wet, icy, bitter, snowy, blowy coldness or learn to love it. I’ve decided to go with the latter.

One wintery day we decided to get all bundled up and go for a walk at RBG‘s Hendrie Valley. If you park at the Cherry Hill gate (just over Mcquesten Bridge heading towards Burlington) you can enter for free. Head through the gate and onto the trails towards the boardwalk for some bird watching and chickadee feeding.

We brought some of our own bird feed with us, but there was plenty around on benches and railings to attract a good enough crowd.

So many chickadees! Steve even got a few to eat some seed off his hands. We also spotted a downy woodpecker and a spattering of cardinals that looked beautifully gorgeous-red against the snowy white backdrop.

We didn’t last long; the sun was already starting to drop as was the temperature.

Happy to have made it out of the house to enjoy some winter sun, nature and fresh air.

 

lilacs

During the depths of a blustery and cold winter hike at the Royal Botanical Gardens, I vowed to make a return visit come spring to frolic in the fragrant blossoms of, non other than, the lilac.

So a few weekends back we packed up Steve’s grandma’s quilt, picked up some take-out sushi plus a couple of coffees from Mulberry and headed to the RBG Lilac Dell for a picnic.

There are over 600 varieties of lilacs at the gardens, all blossoming simultaneously amidst the crab apple blossoms, dogwood and redbud trees.

There were a lot of other picnic goers enjoying the spring dreaminess of the gardens.

Before leaving I enthusiastically stuffed my nose into a few lilac blossoms, drinking in their fragrant smells and paying the price in sneezes later that evening.

Admission is $12.50 per adult (plus tax). I know it seems like a lot but if you make a day of visiting all the parks and gardens of the RBG then it’s definitely worth it  (the admission covers entrance to all 4 gardens!). I always consider the admission to be like a donation, cause I mean, gosh, these gardens and spaces are so beautiful and I’m just happy that they’re around!

cap’n cootes

On the occasions when I decide to take Plains Road into Hamilton from Burlington, I love taking that quick glance over across the bay towards Dundas. It’s a pretty picturesque view, all things considered, if you were to look to the opposite side of the T.B. McQuesten High Level Bridge the view would be of smoke stacks and steel mills. Truly I think the view of Cootes Paradise towards Dundas from the bridge is one of the more breathtaking views of Southern Ontario. You can see the curve of the escarpment, the marshy bay and what seems to be virtually untouched nature for miles and miles.

The Thomas B. McQuesten High Level Bridge was built during the 1930's. It was originally called Hamilton High Level Bridge before being renamed after Thomas McQuesten, who was an upstanding Hamilton citizen that resided in the historic Whitehern house.

view of Cootes Paradise from T.B. McQuesten Bridge

view of Princess Point from T.B. McQueston Bridge

Over the weekend we decided to get out an embrace the winter weather and take a walk through Cootes Paradise.

Mainly, I really wanted to get an up-close and personal look of the bay in its frozen solid form. I always notice the little silhouettes of people skating and playing hockey out on the bay in winter from the highway and I have these wistfull dreams that one day I might be that person down there skating away. Well, I currently don’t own skates and Omi being so little, I think we’re still a ways off from passing a puck around or doing double axels on that natural winter-made Ontario-bay ice.

So a winter walk it was… right through some of my favourite Hamilton landscapes.

Our walk began from the RBG Arboretum entrance. I duly noted that in the spring we would have to make a return visit to see the massive lilac garden (apparently the largest in North America). After a bit of meandering we finally found the Captain Cootes Trail that hugged the bay and away we went!

We tried to venture out on the bay for a little while. There was a couple with their dogs walking out on the ice so it was a sign that the ice was strong enough to hold. But when I ventured out and heard the ice crack under my feet I decided to play it safe. I’ve been told that the water on the bay is really shallow so it doesn’t take much of a cold snap to freeze it solid. I wasn’t taking my chances that day.

A bit ambitious to be out walking in the cold minus 10 degree whether. So when Omi’s little chubby baby cheeks were feeling cold and getting all rosied up, we called it a day and headed back.

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