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TransCanada Trail


8) Burnbrae Road to the intersection of Grand Road and Alma Street (Campbellford)

Total: 5.8 kilometres
Running Total: 66 kilometres

At Burnbrae Road, you have some alternatives:

1) Take the route as described in the Trans Canada Trail's excellent map. It suggests you turn left on Burnbrae, turn left on Centre Street (County Road 8) and walk into Ferris Provincial Park to Ranney Falls Suspension Bridge. This is the most boring alternative.

2) Walk left at Burnbrae as above, but at Centre Street (County Road 8) cut south on a trail that starts at the south west corner of Burnbrae and Centre and runs through Ferris Park to the suspension bridge. Park literature lists this route as part of the Trans Canada Trail. This is far superior to walking south down the relatively high-traffic Centre Street. This is the route I have measured for this section which comes in at 4.5 kilometres; the third option described below is 4 kilometres long. I didn't walk Centre Street to Ferris Park and don't recommend it.

3) Continue on the trail bed on the north side of Burnbrae, then take Cockburn and Second streets to Saskatoon Street. Turn left here and walk along the banks of the Trent to Ranney Falls suspension bridge, where all three choices meet.  This route has some problems, but they are not insurmountable and you spend less time on boring roads. The roads you do take are interesting and in town. It  takes you close to downtown, so a quick detour for a meal or even a movie is possible. It also takes you past a beer store, a chocolate outlet and a (separate) chocolate factory. This is my preferred route.

If you are doing a loop here, you can combine some of these options.

Route #1:
The trail meets Burnbrae Road (the 6th Line East) just under 1 kilometre east of Centre Street. Head left thttp://turnstone.ca/index.phpoward Centre Street. The most interesting spots in this section are Burnbrae Gardens, a long-term care facility on the north side of the road and the little cemetery at little farther along on on the same side.

At Centre Street, turn south. I have not walked this road, but traffic can move at a fair clip along this section running south out of Campbellford. The entrance to Ferris Provincial Park is 1.4 kilometres from Burnbrae Road. Turn right here and walk back northward to the park gates. Shortly after this, the road meets the route described in Route #2. Head left here and follow the Route #2 description.

Route #2:

Trans Canada Trail, Centre and Burnbrae, start of trail through Ferris Park.As in Route #1, head east down Burnbrae Road. From the south-west corner of Centre and Burnbrae, you'll see a trail heading off at an angle. There's a bear and bear cub warning sign indicating the trail.

This trail winds south along the bottom edge of a ridge (on your right). County Road #8 is not far to your left. The path is mown grass and is clear and easy on your feet.

After passing a sign banning  ATVs in the park, you'll turn left and face a house in front of you. However, the trail turns right and continues past the Ferris Provincial park offices. Shortly afterwards, the road branches again.

Stay right; the left road heads off to the front gate. Follow the road around as it winds toward Ranney Fall Suspension Bridge. You'll see intriguing trails heading off to the left and right as well as a road heading southward. These trails with colours for names need investigating; I haven't walked them, but they're definitely on my list.

Stay with the road until it come to a "T" intersection; this is the extension of Saskatoon Avenue (but you can't drive north from here to the town). There are signs here pointing the way to the bridge. Turn left and follow the road until you come to a trail. There is a parking lot here and a field beyond it with a picnic table off to the right; it's a good place to have a picnic.

The trail to the bridge is clear, running off to the right. Follow it to the bridge.

Before you cross the bridge, it's worth taking a brief diversion north along the trail that runs along the river's edge. You'll get some good views of Ranney Falls to the north, the hydro outlet on the opposite bank and the gorge itself. Not far north is a little observation spot by the falls, where you can look at the falls safely behind a railing.

From the bridge, follow the trail as described below in Route #3.

Route #3

From Burnbrae Road, continue north on the rail bed. There are four cement pylons in front of a dilapidated wire fence on the north side of the road. You can easily find a spot to step over the fence. However, watch the poison ivy. It's all over here, sometimes hidden in the underbrush. The terrain is a bit rough, but stick as much as possible to the high ground and it sorts itself out.

For a brief section, the trail is overgrown and the poison ivy continues to be a bit of a problem. Eventually the trail meets a farmer's double track coming from the back of a house on Burnbrae Road. The trail is easy here, until you meet more pylons just before crossing Dart Road. Cross Dart Road beyond the pylons. The trail heads northward to the east of Dart Road, but it's easier to get off now and cut to the streets of Campbellfors..

Cross the road, and you'll pass the old Dart foam recycling factory to your right. It closed in 2010. Dart is a U.S. company with manufacturing operations around the world. They make plastic containers for food and other products. Most people would call the material "Styrofoam" but Dart doesn't because that is a trademark of the Dow Chemical Company. The generic name is polystyrene. The Dart factory opened  in Campbellford in 1985.

Follow the Dart fence eastward across a dried (in August) creek bed. If you walk close to the corn field, there's a stretch of earth along the last line of corn  where the undergrowth is considerably less; I imagine the chemicals used to kill the weeds in the corn field are responsible for this little strip. If you're walking this section in the height of summer, this route could avoid the worst of the undergrowth.

As the Dart fence ends, you'll see a little hill. Climb it to get a view of Campbellford to the north-west. Then, skirt the hill and head along the left side of the line of trees until you get to the wooden fences on your left enclosing suburban gardens. The trees are a relief if you're walking on a hot day.

Shortly after you pass along the fences, you'll have to jog right to the edge of a bean field, as the path straight ahead leads to someone's back yard. Skirt the bean field and walk along the edge of the lawns and the field until you come to an open spot. I'm not sure if this is actually a little park, but the space between houses is enough to pass unobtrusively. Just before you reach the street, you'll pass a little apple tree.

You are now on Elmore Street. Jog right to get to Cockburn Street and walk westward to Centre Street, where you'll find a beer store. It's nicely placed if you are in the middle of a hot walk. In 2009, they only had  one brand of beer you can buy in single bottles: a polish beer called Zywiec. I trust they've expanded since then.

If you buy a bottle, don't open it immediately, because you'll soon be passing The World's Finest Chocolate outlet, where all kinds of candy is sold. Continue down Cockburn which turns into 2nd Street. The World's Finest Chocolate. is on the south side of the street. The Chicago-based company has had its Canadian operations in Campbellford since 1958.

Traditionally, the company (at least in Canada) has focused on providing chocolates for schools and charities to use as fundraisers. However, schools recently have focused more on flogging healthy stuff and shied away from chocolates, which has hurt the company.

Now here's the weird part: Immediately to the west of the World's Finest is Blommer Chocolate, with a plant in Campbellford since 2006. According to this company they actually make the finest chocolate in the world. They are also based in Chicago. They also say they are "North America's largest processor of cocoa beans and ingredient chocolate supplier in America."  The Campbellford plant ships most of its product south of the border.

Meanwhile, World's Finest ships its product in from Chicago. And they say capitalists thrive on efficiency. I'm not convinced.

Nevertheless, I bought the Chicago chocolate. A really nice saleswoman gave me a frozen bottle of water to put in my pack so my chocolate almonds (two for the price of one!) wouldn't melt. The World's Finest have a single open room with all their products. In a second room, women stand by tables packaging the product as it streams in from Chicago.

Back to the street: continue down Second Street to Saskatoon Avenue. Have a few chocolates on the way. If it's a sunny day, glory in the day and ignore the fact that the World's Finest is not, in fact, the world's finest by a long stretch. Crack your bottle of Zywiec and note that these Polish folks make an OK beer, nice and light for a hot day, but again, far from remarkable. Maybe I should have stuck with my Sir Perry's Pear Cider in my backpack, which is the world's finest. Never fear! It's upward and onward to Saskatoon Avenue.

Head left down Saskatoon. The road passes the Trent River control dam. Notice the soccer pitches on your left.

By the way, to back up a bit, you can try to track part of the old rail bed by heading south down Centre Street at the beer store. Go right at 1st Street and then cut back north on King until the street runs out. Turn left before the fence.

Follow the fence left until you can squeeze out onto the road and follow the road west past the back of the chocolate factory and up a little hill into the parking lot of a small set of apartments. Then cut straight through a bit of brush onto the soccer pitches and finally on to Saskatoon Road.

Trans Canada Trail, old railway bridge abutments on the trent River, CampbellfordThe rail bed is not at all clear. You can imagine bits here and there, but you have to skirt sections where there are now buildings and fences, so it's not the most instructive of walks.

However you get here, at the dam you must make a short diversion to climb the hill to the shore of the river. The Canadian Tire on the opposite bank mars the view a bit.
You can just make out the abutments to the old railway bridge here just to the west
of Saskatoon Avenue in Campbellford, near the soccer pitches. The rail bed is pretty well
lost as it passes through the town; this is a last reminder. On a warm summer evening, this
is a fine place to pass the time. (Photo July 20, 2009)

 However, if you squint a lot or sit with one of the old railway abutments blocking the unsightly stuff, you can create a good view. It's a good peaceful spot to pause.

Continue down Saskatoon. The river below the dam does change. A sign warns you to stay off the river bed. It's wise counsel. I've seen the river bed  almost dry; I've also seen it gushing with white water after they've opened the dams.

To your left is a youth centre and a skate park. The latter was in the middle stages of construction when I passed by in August, 2009. A sign indicated that fundraisers were still quite a way from their goal for several recreational projects.

On down Saskatoon, you'll notice some grand houses on your left before the road ends at a gate that announces that Ferris Park is very near

Past the gate, the trail turns into a pleasant path that winds to the old front gate of Ferris Park. Saskatoon Avenue, (which is not drivable at this point), heads up a slight incline. However, the riverside path is more interesting. It winds about until it reaches a little platform near the water where you can view Ranney Falls. From the platform, climb the hill to an open grassy spot where you can rest at a bench and get another view of the falls. Then the trail winds a bit farther to the bridge.

Trans Canada trail, Ranney Suspension Bridge over the Trent River, CampbellfordThe bridge is fun. It sways slightly, especially if there are a few people on it. As you get to the centre, you get great views of the falls and the sides of the gorge both to the north and to the south. The north part of the river has a few rapids that whitewater canoe enthusiasts can ponder over, while the south view is more ponderous as the river winds down to reconnect with the Trent Canal that runs just to the west.

The Ranney Gorge suspension bridge.

The canal and the hydro dam draw the water they need from the river. The hydro dam spits the water back through a gorge cut into the rock near the hydro plant..

From the bridge, the trail runs by the hydro generating plant to the right. If you cut right, you can walk down a road into a little gully and see the water as it rushes out from beneath the main building. Then at the front of the building, notice the "forebay" area — a constructed pond in front of the main building.

After that it's over the bridge, with a look to the left to see the Trent-Severn Waterway Locks Number 11 and 12. Then turn right along Trent Road. Jog slightly right to get on the Rotary Trail which follows the canal around until you get to the Rotary's gazebo that sits between Grand Road (the main southbound road out of Campbellford) and the canal-side Rotary Trail. There's a sign here that gives you a quick history of Campbellford.

Trans Canada Trail, Trent-Severn Canal, Campbellford, west side looking southIt's 1.3 kilometres from the gazebo to Alma Street, along the Rotary Trail which takes you along the west side of the canal. On a  nice day, this can be a pleasant walk along a path of fine gravel, although traffic noise is always present.

The Trent-Severn Canal, Campbellford, looking south from the west bank.

On your left, the Houses of Grand Street turn from relatively modern suburban to some grand old 19th-century brick homes. Across the canal, Trent Drive is lined with standard suburban homes.

Trans Canada Trail, Campbellford Trent-Severn Canal looking northThe Trent-Severn Waterway (see Wikipedia for a general description) is 386 kilometres long, operated by Parks Canada, and used for recreational boating. Since the canal requires a relatively consistent water level, it draws from lakes and human-made reservoirs to maintain it.

A look northward from the west side of the Trent-Severn Canal in Campbellford. This
shot gives a good idea of the Rotary Trail. It runs between the canal and Grand Road
(seen just to the left in the photo) on a small strip of greenery. The abutments in the canal
are from the old bridge that used to carry the Grand Junction Railway. The Trans Canada will
pick up the rail bed again just west of Alma Road.

There is competition for water use by cottagers, canal users and the plants and animals living on or near the waterways. The loss of forests and marshes because of urban and agricultural development has made water retention is an ongoing problem. The priority of the canal's needs has caused problems for cottagers and wildlife on reservoir lakes many miles from the canal itself.

Trans canada Trail-campbellford, erratic boulderHave a look at the "erratic" or Gabbro boulder installed along the trail. (This link gives a detailed history of the rock. See the rest of the site—Turnstone.ca—if you're interested in things geological, both local and otherwise.)

An "erratic boulder" can be found beside the Rotary Trail in Campbellford. Notice the
old railway abutments in the canal in the background.

At Alma Street, turn left. The Canadian Tire will be on your left on the west side of Grand Road. It sits on the land the Grand Junction Railway once ran. We'll rejoin the Grand Junction rail bed shortly.

Rating: Burnbrae and Centre roads: walk dude; Rail sections, and Ferris Park (road sections): walk dudewalk dude; Campbellford streets, riverside trail sections and Ranney bridge sections: walk dudewalk dudewalk dude.
Walked: August 11, 28, 2009

How to get there: Campbellford is just under 28 kilometres north of the Highway #401 at the County Road #30 cutoff. (Brighton is signposted as being south, but you'll be heading north.) County Road #30  is 134 kilometres east from the Don Valley and Highway #401 in Toronto and 15 kilometres west of the Highway #401 Trenton cutoff

 As you come into  the town, watch out for the Rotary gazebo on the right, and the Rotary trail along the Trent Canal, which will pinpoint the trail. If you want to get to Ferris Provincial Park, continue north up #30 (which is now Grand Road) up to the lights and the bridge, turn right over the bridge and head through town. Drive up the hill to Centre Street and turn right. Drive just over two kilometres to the gates of the park.

To get to Saskatoon Avenue along the Trent River near the back of Ferris Park, turn right at Front Street immediately on the east side of the Campbellford bridge. Stay right as the streets head south until you flow into Saskatoon Avenue. There's a small parking spot at the gate just before the road turns into a trail.

On to the next section: Campbellford to Hastings
Back to the previous section: Bonarlaw to Campbellford
Back to the Ontario Trans Canada Trail main page

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Page created: August 13, 2009
Updated: August 30, 2009