Read: Adventures in Grey Bruce, By: Norma Grafe...
There’s so much to explore in Southwestern Ontario! Where will it be this summer? Let’s close our eyes and pick a spot on the map. (Drum roll…..)
…and it’s Brockton! Excellent! The great outdoors under a summer sun is always a balm for the spirit!
Let’s start a side-trip by taking Bruce County Road 10 south to the Town of Chesley for a must-see photo opportunity at 1st Avenue North. Big Bruce is a tribute to the cattle industry and is a giant Hereford steer (not a live one) that loves to have its picture taken with visitors!
Did you bring your mountain bikes? Burn off some of your stress at 1300 Concession Road 12, just south of Paisley, where you’ll find Brant Tract, about 20 km of mountain biking trails for all levels and abilities!
Let’s take Bruce Road 3 south, hang a right on Bruce Road 15, drive through Eden Grove and keep going until you turn left on Bruce Road 20. We’re heading for Greenock Swamp Wetland Complex. I know what you’re thinking: ewwww, a swamp! But this happens to be the largest forested wetland area in Southern Ontario! With 20,000 acres, home to such exotic plants as carnivorous Pitcher plants and Sundew plants! (Don’t worry, the kids are safe.) Take Bruce County Road 20 to Concession 6 in Chepstow and get ready for your family adventure! You don’t even have to get your feet wet! A short hike through the forest brings you to the floating boardwalk. Swamps are definitely for the birds! Watch them from the viewing dock on Schmidt Lake, and give the kids (small and large) a contest to see who can spot the most!
Let’s continue to nearby 203 Cargill Road to visit the historic Village of Cargill and the Legendary Greenock Swamp Visitor Centre. You don’t need a time machine! Many of the buildings on the main street here look just the same as when they were built in the late 1800’s. Have your photos taken among life-sized artwork – the Village is filled with 70 historic cut-outs painted by local artist Steve Mackie. Be awed by the working blacksmith shop, then be sure to stop and admire the historic Henry Cargill House.
What child wouldn’t want to play with Dinky Toys? But wait! Wouldn’t it be cool to really ride one? The Dinky Train at the Visitor Centre takes visitors on a train tour through the Village and then onward to show you beautiful river views and historic points of interest!
Find your way to Highway 9, either by heading south on Bruce Road 20 or Bruce Road 3 and turn left to Walkerton, where you can refuel! Grab a burger at Brant Drive-In. Or a sub at Subway at 1000 Yonge Street South. If pizza’s your thing, you can’t go wrong at The Old Garage Wood-Fired Pizza at 520 Durham Street East. Or check out Old Joe’s Cabin at 402 Durham Street East.
Relax after your meal by visiting Walkerton’s Heritage Water Garden (6 First Street). The Garden contains a Memorial Fountain, which draws its inspiration from the biblical story of Moses striking a rock in the desert to bring water to the Israelites. It consists of a massive rock formation, cracked open, with water gushing out. Unlike the negative image, forged by the disaster in Walkerton, the Fountain presents water as a positive, life-affirming and healing symbol.
Speaking of water, unpack your fishing poles! The Saugeen River flows around the east and north of town. Brockton is making a name for itself as one of the greatest fishing destinations in the world! Home to both the Saugeen and Teeswater Rivers, Brockton offers first-class fly fishing, and anglers will find the feeder streams and spring-fed lakes offer an abundance of brown trout, bass, and pike! Most game species can be caught in the Saugeen and the river is easy to access featuring a variety of trails, boat launches and access points.
All that fresh air is sure to whet appetites, but let’s find a place to stay first. You can choose from charming B & B’s, like Pleasure Valley Bed and Breakfast (31 Pleasure Valley Road, Walkerton) or Spa Bed & Breakfast (540 10th Avenue, Hanover). Or how about hotels like Grey Rose Suites (394 10th Street, Hanover) or Best Western Plus (10 Eastridge Road, Walkerton), or Traveller’s Inn (244 7th Avenue, Hanover)?
You guessed it – we’re on our way to Hanover. Get settled in, maybe have a little rest, and then finish the day (for the kids at least) with a bite of supper. You’ll find the usual popular fare (KFC, McDonald’s, Swiss Chalet, Harvey’s, Subway, Pita Pit, A&W, New Orleans Pizza) all nearby. Or you might prefer Chow’s Garden (328 10th Street, Hanover) for Chinese fare, Cravings Family Restaurant (208 7th Avenue, Hanover), Norm’s Restaurant (198 10th Street, Hanover) or Hanover Pizza House Plus (256 10th Street).
Aunt Jenny is ready to pack it in, and has her magic bag of activities to keep the kids entertained at the hotel, so, for you adult night-owls, head on over to Gateway Casinos in Hanover (275 5th Street) and enjoy some slots – they’re open until 2 am!
Rested and rarin’ to go after a good night’s sleep, let’s finish off with a day trip to the Bruce Power Visitors’ Centre. The Centre is an interactive, fun way for your family to learn about Ontario’s most important energy provider. Every year thousands of visitors arrive at the Bruce Power Visitors’ Centre to learn more about nuclear energy and electricity generation. Looking out over the world’s largest operating nuclear power facility, the Visitors’ Centre is located north of Tiverton, adjacent to Ontario’s first commercial wind farm, Huron Wind. From Hanover, go west toward Walkerton on Highway 4, turn right at Bruce Road 19, then left at Bruce Road 15. Remember Eden Grove? Keep going until you turn right on Bruce Road 20, and you’ll end up at “The Bruce”.
Wow, what a weekend! Let’s take a head count to make sure that everybody’s still here. Wait, what happened to Aunt Jenny? She stayed at the hotel? She’s going to call a Realtor about a house that she fell in love with? The charm of Brockton strikes again!