Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Running Review: Lake Ontario Waterfront

Running in my southwest Mississauga neighbourhood (west of Toronto) is something I have done regularly for 3 years now. I had a couple of suburban routes ranging from 6 -10km which I would rotate through depending on the length of run I was looking for. All of these routes had one thing in common… they were boring! A mix of residential, commercial and industrial roads designed to be endured more than enjoyed.  

This year I have been pushing closer to a half-marathon distance, running lengths of 12, 15 and even 18km when I’m feeling up to it. This extra distance has expanded my running radius from the neighbourhood streets to the banks of Lake Ontario.

As boasted in an earlier post, I have run in some pretty cool coastal locations such as Miami Beach, Punta Cana & Malta. While I’m not about to compare residential Lake Ontario to any of these world class destinations, I will say I have been amazed with the beautiful views and serene atmosphere of the waterfront running offered right in my own neck of the woods.

Our neighbourhood of Clarkson sits smack in the middle of two affluent lakeside communities in the Greater Toronto Area... Oakville & Port Credit. Oakville offers runners over half a dozen beautiful waterfront expanses, from the tiny Arkendo Park to the bustling beach at Coronation Park. Perhaps my favorite location in Oakville is the expertly landscaped Gairloch Gardens, complete with its own palm tree in the summer! To the east there is Port Credit with its action packed harbour, plethora of restaurants and cafes and its pier extending out from the mouth of the Credit River into Lake Ontario.
In between these two locations is Rattray Marsh Conservation Area. A protected wetland with walking/hiking/running trails leading through a forested marsh and ending with a fantastic view of the lake.

It turns out you don’t have to travel to Europe or the Caribbean to experience the zen of running with the calming waves and vastness of open water. Here are a few of my favorite photographs of runs alongside underappreciated Lake Ontario!

It's not quite powdery white beach sand, but it sure beats a busy road.

Atlantic Ocean-like waves on a windy day!

The entrance to beautiful Gairloch Gardens in Oakville.

Ahh the majestic palm tree... first time I have seen one in Ontario!

A ship and the Toronto skyline in the distance.

Port Credit - the end of the pier

Mike @ Palms & Pints