Bronte Creek Provincial Park

Happy Sunday, everyone! I hope you all had a great weekend and got a chance to enjoy this incredible warm weather we’ve been having. Isn’t it amazing what a massive impact weather can have on one’s mood? I work from home three days a week, and lately I’ve been keeping all of the windows open because it’s so nice – and I can just hear the happiness in my neighbourhood! Birds chirping, kids playing, neighbours greeting each other and commenting on the nice weather. I’ve been waking up feeling more energized, more motivated to get out and exercise (and even start on that dreaded spring cleaning) and just happier in general. And hey, after us Ontarians experienced our darkest winter in over 80 years, I think we all deserve a little sun therapy!

Even though the weather we’ve been enjoying this last week is unseasonably warm and temperatures are due to drop tomorrow, the good news is that I think we’ve finally left winter weather in the dust. No more sub-zero temperatures for us! There’s no better time to start getting outside and enjoying spring weather in Ontario, and if you’re looking for a place to do just that, I happen to have a great suggestion for you: Bronte Creek Provincial Park.

Located in Oakville, Bronte Creek is one of the few Ontario Provincial Parks located relatively close to Toronto. (The other closest ones would be Darlington Provincial Park in Bowmanville and Forks of the Credit in Caledon.) The 16.8 square kilometre urban oasis is home to a beautiful ravine, five hiking trails, a 1.8 acre outdoor swimming pool (one of Canada’s largest), a disc golf course, an animal farm, and a historic Victorian farmhouse. All that to say, you certainly won’t be bored if you visit Bronte Creek – there’s something for everyone to enjoy!

I first visited Bronte Creek with Tania two years ago. It was around the same time of year, mid-April, and the weather had just started getting nice. We went for a hike on the Half Moon Valley Trail, which takes you through the forest directly down to the ravine. (Check out a complete guide to Bronte Creek’s trails here.)

We also took a stroll down the park’s whimsical “Gnome Road”, which is sprinkled with cute little gnome and fairy houses, and stopped at the barn area to say hello to the park’s resident bunnies and goats.

A few weeks ago, I returned to Bronte Creek for a hike with a friend, this time exploring the Lookout Ravine Trail. There was still plenty of snow and the ground was icy, so we had to watch our step, but it was worth the occasional slip – there’s just something so beautiful about hiking through a winter wonderland!

On my most recent visit to Bronte Creek, I also discovered a new attraction: the Spruce Lane Farmhouse. Well, the house itself is hardly new – it was built in 1899 – but although I’d seen the exterior on my previous trip to the park, I had no idea you could actually tour the inside, so it was new to me! (I first visited during 2021 when several COVID restrictions were still in place, so it’s possible tours were not being offered at that time.) Well, it was such a treat to see the interior of this fascinating house! The Victorian-style farmhouse was the home of apple farmer Henry Breckon and his family from 1899 until the 1950s. The house is fully furnished and beautifully restored, and I loved all of the thoughtful details – from the staff, who dress in period costumes, to the dishes of fake food set out on the dining table. The farmhouse is supposedly haunted, and even though I didn’t feel any sort of presence while there, my friend said she has felt something on previous visits! If you’re brave enough, Bronte Creek hosts nighttime ghost tours of the farmhouse in the summer.

Of course, we couldn’t leave without saying hello to Bronte Creek’s adorable farm animals. Close to the Spruce Lane Farmhouse, you’ll find a barn and outdoor enclosure with cows.

We then drove to the part of the park that houses its Nature Centre and Children’s Farm. While it may be billed as a “children’s farm”, I promise you it’s equally as fun for children at heart of all ages – or just anyone who loves animals! We got to meet some pigs – who were fast asleep and couldn’t have cared less that we were there – and some very spirited and playful goats, who were thrilled to have our attention.

Admission to Bronte Creek Provincial Park is $18 per vehicle, but it’s free if you walk or bicycle in. You can simply pay at the gate – no need to reserve in advance – which is honestly rather refreshing in today’s world, where it often seems like you have to pre-book everything weeks ahead! Be sure to print a copy of the park map or have it handy on your phone before you go – this is a huge park with lots to see, so you’ll want (and need) directions! I also recommend taking a look at the events calendar on the park website before going – there’s always something fun going on, so you may want to plan your visit around one of their special events. The next event is Spring Time On The Farm which will be coming up in May.

I really do feel so lucky to live in a province with so many amazing parks, and feel especially lucky to live so close to Bronte Creek! Do you have a favourite Ontario Provincial Park?

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