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murray canal, straight!
Murray Canal. Straight and...

murray canal, west end -- straight again!
Straight again!  (Right click, and select "view image" for larger photo.)
January 5, 2009

brighton suburbs, "unassumed road" sign
Mud and "unassumed roads" in Brighton's new suburban developments. February 12, 2009.

See the photos section for my rant on suburban development and the swallowing up of marshland.


Lake Ontario Waterfront

Trenton to Presqu'ile Park

12 O'clock Point to Presqu'ile Park

Total: 13.8 kilometres Running Total: 22

Click here or on any photo for more photos of this section. 


12 O'clock Point to Lovett/Murray Canal: 6.2 km 

Western extension of canal: 1.6 km x 2 (round trip) 

This section runs along  Murray Canal from 12 O'clock Point to Lovett (or the village of Murray Canal — it's Lovett on the map, Murray Canal on village signs) is a flat and easy walk, but very straight. You can walk on either side. The south side looks a bit more attractive, and there is the occasional vehicle on a short section of the northern side.

tugboat & road swing bridge murray canalShortly after leaving the Bay of Quinte shores, you should spend a bit of time having a look at the swing bridge at Loyalist Parkway. There’s a small “boat” (a tugboat, perhaps?) — a platform shaped like a boat with a ship’s wheel, a bench and some posters with canal history — where you can relax and watch the boats float by in summer and the bits of ice in winter, gracefully flowing toward the Bay of Quinte. A little further east along the canal where it intersects with the abandoned rail line is an old steel swing bridge with two sets of rails.

A "tugboat" at the Loyalist parkway (County Road #33) just north of 12 O'clock Point,
with the swing bridge in the background. (See the photo section for information boards
on the tugboat, which describe the history of the canal.) January 5, 2009

At the Lovett end, there are cedars between the trail and the canal. If there's a cold breeze blowing, they cut the wind nicely.

The trail on the south side has similar cedars.  At several places, there were trails used by snowmobiles heading off north. They looked more promising, but I stuck to the straight and narrow.

To the north of the canal, English Settlement Road curves close to the canal and there is a short road that opens onto the trail. If any of the northbound trails were worth it, this might be a way of getting to them faster.

East, across Brighton Road/64, I followed the canal along the south trail. This is a side tour on the shoreline walk, but it seems essential to walk the length of the Murray Canal. It’ll only add 3.2 kilometres to your journey, round trip. The canal starts/ends at Presqu’ile Bay with a cement abutment that projects forty or fifty feet into the water. The open water on a cloudy winter day is impressive; it’s a mixture of the bleak stillness of the shoreline amplified by the cold choppy water, uninviting but attractive all at once. In summer, I’m sure I’d see people going about their business along the shoreline. When I walked it in winter, I was the only person standing on the edge of the water.

The Murray Canal would make a good family outing with no surprises. The canal cuts through Dead Creek marsh which is its most interesting feature. I tried to imagine walking it in summer and thought it would be a good place to bring folks who were not up for more than a nice walk by the water with no surprises. That said, a lone duck and a beaver both startled me as they splashed about in the water. The beaver was taking what must have been a cold winter swim in mid-canal; I couldn’t see its house, but there was a channel nearby coming in from the southern marsh. I figure that’s where he must have come in from.

Rating: walk dudewalk dude

Walked: January 5, 8, 2009

County Road #64 Lovett (Murray Canal) to Presqu'ile Park (13.2 km)

Until you get to Gosport, this is a boring section. There are pretty ordinary houses along this paved road. Brighton Speedway is situated on the south side just over a kilometre out of Murray Canal. There’s an interesting monument made of of cemetery stones  at Boes Road, describing some of the history of the Van Sicklen family (see photos).

After Boes Road, it gets mildly more interesting. You can see the lake and the marshes off to the south and there are a few interesting points on the north side too. DEG Environmental Ltd. have a facility on County Road #64. They remediate petroleum hydrocarbon impacted soils – which means they clean up soil from old gas stations, fuel spills, transformer leaks and the like.

sign-brighton rc hawksAlso on the north side of County Road #64 is the property of the Brighton RC Hawks, a radio-controlled model airplane flying club ("R/C" stands for "radio control"). (See photo, left.)

A “Constructed Wetland for Waste Water Polishing” on County Road 64 just before the turn south into Gosport at Harbour road. It’s the last stage in Brighton’s sewage disposal system which now (I write this in January 2009) needs upgrading.

The “polishing” (what a great euphemism!) is apparently effective, and the plant includes an aerated lagoon and a waste stabilization pond, both of which can be viewed on the north side of County Road #64. The constructed wetland was installed in 1999, but now the system needs a $6.4 million upgrade.

For birders, the constructed wetland has a number of treasures. Here’s a birder’s sightings from April, 2008 (unedited): 

“A Lesser Yellowlegs, 2 Dunlins, a Semi-palmated Sandpiper as well numerous Blue-Winged Teal, Buffleheads, Green-Winged Teal, a few Mallard, Northern Shovellers, Mute Swans including the mixed pair Trumpeter/Mute, the Common Moorhen seen as well as heard calling, a pair of Belted Kingfisher and the pair of Osprey (on their pole), White throated Sparrow and Song Sparrows, Killdeer a Double Crested Cormorant and Caspian Tern also did a very low fly-by.  

“The regular visitors / summertime residents include Tree Swallow, Northern Rough winged Swallow, and a couple of Barn Swallows many Red-Winged Black birds and Common Grackle, Cardinals, Northern Flickers, Blue Jays and Canada Geese.”

Cars and trucks travel at a good clip along the road section. It’s really the only way I could see to continue westward, but otherwise it’s a waste of a walk. It’s part of the Lake Ontario Waterfront Trail and also part of the Port Hope to TrentonApple Route.” The latter is a driving route and a local promotional  project to attract tourists to take a tour through one of Ontario’s orchard regions.

Trail on Butler CreekAfter the turn  left into Harbour St., it gets more interesting. In the winter, just past Butler Creek,turn left again (on the opposite side from Butler Creek Trail) and  follow the snowmobile trail through the woods and out into the marsh. You'll see Butler Creek winding off to your left. When it leaves the trees, have a look at it. If it's cold enough it makes a fine walkway out to the lake. Follow it as it twists its way to the lake. It goes over a beaver dam at one point and you can hear water gurgling; give that a bit of a skirt. You can then stay with the trail on the lake as it goes around the point, or come off the lake and follow any street westward to Bay Street and Baldwin.

Butler Creek makes a nice trail through the 

marsh when the ice is firm. January, 2009

Gosport Harbourfront Cafe

In the summer, I'm afraid the boring walk continues. Once on Harbour Street and over the Butler Creek bridge, turn left (south) at Baldwin. Follow that to Bay Street and the Harbourview Café where you can have a cup of tea and a snack. In winter it's open from 8 a.m,. to 8 p.m., except on Tuesday's when it's closed. 

The Harbourview Café in Gosport is a fine (and warm) end to a winter walk.
January, 2009

Gosport is worth a little tour. In winter you can visit the fishing "village" just off the shore. Take a walk along Bay, then cut up to the right on Lambton Street. if you take a short tour down one of the dead-end streets to your left, you'll get views of Presqu'ile Bay and Presqu'ile Point. There's some new building going on here — more private dwellings hogging what should be public waterfront.

At the top of Lambton Street turn right and head up Baldwin and back to Harbour Street. Turn right back to the Butler Creek bridge and head down the Butler Creek Trail.

Butler Creek Trail Sign, Gosport

Butler Creek makes a nice trail through the 
marsh when the ice is firm. January, 2009

This section of Butler Creek Trail is just short of .7 km.

In 2003, the Canada-Ontario Infrastructure Program (a coalition of federal and provincial funding) talked about a 4.5 km trail they were supporting financially. At present, the "Tobey" is the only section constructed. It passes perilously close to some unfinished suburban houses in the Mill Pond Woods being constructed by Gordon Tobey Developments Ltd., presumably the Tobey the trail link is named after. The trail is squeezed between suburban developments; despite this it's a good short walk and a welcome relief from the boredom of County road #64.

At Cedar Street, you will need to turn left (south). However, a quick walk into Brighton is worth it, to check out some of the historical bits, antique shops, restaurants  and the like.

Rating: walk dudewalk dudewalk dude

brighton, cedar street, kid in shorts in February

In the midst of development hell...

When you  arrive at Cedar Street, turn left and walk just short of .8 km to Harbour Street, where you will turn right (west). Before that, head out to the "Observation Point" at the end of Cedar. Just before the water's edge, you feel like you're walking on someone's private grass, but the sign indicates it's public property. In winter, you can go onto the ice to get a good view of the shore. It's not pretty. Ugly oversize houses have shut the shoreline off from public use. It's a too- real example of pathetic urban planning. The walk to the entrance of Presqu'ile Park is pretty boring, so you can amuse yourself by wandering some of these desolate suburbs; they're an exercise in lack of imagination. See my mini-photo essay about this in the photos section.

Left: Kids walking home from school in Brighton at about 4 p.m.,
February 12, 2009. The temperature was around
freezing, with a cold breeze making things feel colder.
Shorts weather for sure! February 12, 2009.

parkette on Harbour between Cedar and Ontario, Brighton

parkette sign, Harbour St., Brighton

Harbour Street. T
his little park is all that's on offer for the public.
February 12, 2009

After getting back to Harbour Street, follow that (with deviations noted above) all the way to the Presqu'ile Park gates. Older houses along Harbour street block the shore from you. There is only one tiny park before Ontario Street left for public use. Pathetic. 

At Ontario Street, Harbour curves down into a boat launch. It's not a picturesque spot, so it's best to curve up to the main road again (still Harbour Street) and head for the sanctuary of the park.

Ratings:  County road #64 section: devil ;  Gosport: walk dudewalk dude 

Marsh section (winter) into Gosport:: walk dudewalk dudewalk dude

Walked: January  9, 26, 29, February 12, 2009
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Page created: February 3, 2009
Updated: February 12, 2009