Summer is here and CAA South Central Ontario (SCO) is encouraging Ontarians to join the growing group of people exploring Great Lakes waterfront communities.
In collaboration with the Waterfront Regeneration Trust (WRT), CAA SCO has curated a list of ‘must-experience’ ways to explore the Great Lakes this summer. The ideas below highlight hidden gems in Southwest Ontario, as well as safe and fun cycling day trips.
“People are coming from all over the world to experience the Great Lakes and many people are exploring on two wheels as well as four,” said Kaitlynn Furse, public relations manager, CAA SCO. “Exploring the communities that dot the Great Lakes is a great way to celebrate summer and Canada’s 150th birthday. Incorporating cycling into road trip plans is a wonderful opportunity to connect with nature and communities in a new way.”
The cycling routes included in the weekend getaways are portions of what’s included in the now sold out Great Waterfront Trail Adventure (GWTA) organized by the WRT that runs from Point Pelee to Rouge National Urban Park August 6 to 12.
Port Dover, Long Point Eco Adventures and Burning Kiln Winery
If you are looking for adventure just a short drive away, consider a weekend trip to Port Dover. Just a two-hour drive from Toronto, Port Dover is a quaint beach town on the shores of Lake Erie.
- Try the Lake Erie Perch from the Erie Beach Hotel or a cocktail watching the sunset on the deck of the Beach House.
- Enjoy a day of adventure and culinary delights by biking at your leisure from Port Dover to the award-winning Burning Kiln Winery (20km). Stop at Turkey Point Provincial Park along the way and stretch your legs at the St. Williams Conservation Reserve. If you are up for even more adventure, stop at Long Point Echo Adventures for ziplining and tree canopy tours.
- If you are looking for a shorter ride or a second day of cycling, don’t miss the Rail Trail from Port Dover to Simcoe.
Port Stanley and John E. Pearce Provincial Park
Located three hours from Toronto, Port Stanley is a small community of just over 2000 people located on Lake Erie. Stay at one of the many B&Bs for the weekend and explore all that this area has to offer.
- Bring your bikes and ride the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail to John E Pearce Provincial Park (25km) where you can enjoy Backus-Page-House Museum, a restored Georgian style home constructed in 1850. On the grounds are a restored barn, honey house, heritage gardens and walking trails.
- Enjoy the main beach in Port Stanley, the first beach on Lake Erie to receive Blue Flag Distinction.
- Don’t miss Mackie’s on the beach for family friendly fast food.
Erieau and Rondeau Park
If you are looking for an adventure off the beaten path, head out to Erieau, a unique town in Chatham-Kent found on a peninsula three hours from Toronto.
- Feel like you’re walking back in time by exploring this small resort town and fishing village with a 50s and 60s vibe.
- Enjoy high quality craft beer at Bayside Brewing Co., located right in the town and grab a bite at Eau Buoy for some small-town hospitality.
- Head to Rondeau Provincial Park (24 km) for a day of sandy beaches, hiking and bird watching.
Leamington and Pelee Island
Venture a bit further for a weekend to remember in Leamington and Pelee Island. Located just 3.5 hours from Toronto, spend the night in Leamington before taking the ferry to Pelee Island, the largest island in Lake Erie and the southernmost populated point in Canada.
- Walk around historic Leamington before enjoying dinner at your pick of delicious Mexican restaurants (we like Salsa Caliente Mexican Grill).
- Rise early and take the Pelee Island ferry to enjoy historical sites, local shops and beautiful nature hikes.
- Spend the day exploring the island by bike on a 28km circular route, following close to the Lake Erie shoreline all around the Island.
For those looking to stay closer to home and enjoy fresh air on two wheels, CAA SCO and the WRT recommends the following routes and highlights to explore:
Humber Bay Arch Bridge to Sherbourne Commons
Start at the iconic white Humber Bay Arch Bridge located at the base of South Kingsway. Don’t miss the famous Lion Monument located just to the east, which was commissioned to honour the 1939 visit of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. Stop to refuel at Sunnyside Pavillion, where you will find a full-service restaurant right on the beach, as well as Gus Ryder Pool and several play areas. Spend some time in the newly opened Ontario Place Park and don’t miss the wave deck on Queens Quay before ending at Sherbourne Common.
Rouge National Urban Park to Ajax
Head to the mouth of the Rouge River and travel through Canada’s first National Urban Park. Continue to Pickering and take a moment to rest and enjoy the scenery at Duffins Creek Pedestrian Bridge. Once in Ajax don’t miss Veteran’s Point Garden, dedicated to the role women played in WWII. Ajax GO station is a short 20-minute bike ride from the garden.
Before heading out on two wheels, members can download CAA’s Bike Assist App that uses GPS to navigate cycling routes and provides peace of mind with roadside bike assistance at the click of a button.
With more cyclists commuting and exploring on the roads in the summer months, it is also important to remember the rules of the road:
- All drivers and cyclists are advised to be predictable, be patient, communicate their intentions with signals, regularly check blind spots, and turn on their lights during dawn, dark and dusk.
- In Ontario, the one-metre safe passing rule requires a one-metre distance between driver and cyclist to improve safety for both.
- Drivers and their passengers must be vigilant when exiting vehicles to prevent “dooring”-placing a vehicle in the path of an oncoming cyclist.
- Although a cyclist physically only occupies a part of the lane at any time, they are permitted, under the Highway Traffic Act, to use the entire lane.
Some quick safety tips include:
- Cyclists should ride cautiously when approaching intersection as some motorists may be in the act of turning.
- Cyclists should not pass motorists on the right; but rather wait or pass on left as it is dangerous to be in blind spot of a vehicle already in the act of turning.
- Motorists turning right should look carefully for cyclists on their right side and in their blind spot.
Click here for more cycling safety tips and videos. Try CAA’s new Bike Quiz and Road Test to put your knowledge to the test before heading out on the road. For more summer ready tips like best day trips, top camping spots and not to be missed sunsets visit: .
About CAA South Central Ontario
For over a hundred years, CAA has been helping Canadians stay mobile, safe and protected. CAA South Central Ontario is one of nine auto clubs across Canada providing roadside assistance, travel, insurance services and Member savings for our over 2 million Members.
SOURCE CAA South Central Ontario