By Cece Scott www.cecescott.com
First-class Greater Toronto Area locations.
Part of Halton Region, Burlington and Oakville are western extensions of the Greater Toronto Area. The envied positioning of these two municipalities provides residents and visitors easy access to the downtown core, as well as cross-border opportunities.
Burlington is located in the centre of the Golden Horseshoe on Lake Ontario, and is recognized by Festivals and Events Ontario as the 2016 Municipality of the Year.
Stroll the historical downtown streets to appreciate the community’s first homes (dating back to the 1800’s), before shopping the core’s unique boutiques and artisan shops.
Trekkers of all levels come from far and wide to hike Canada’s oldest footpath – the 890-kilometre Bruce Trail. The more adventurous might want to consider scalng the limestone cliffs of the Niagara Escarpment.
Seassonal activities include skiing and snow boarding at Glen Eden Ski Centre, located a mere half-hour from Burlington. Discovery Landing in Spencer Smith Park, is a gorgeous spot to take the family skating on a lakeside rink.
While you’re at the park, make sure to drop in for a wonderful meal at Spencer’s on the Waterfront. Enjoy market-fresh fish and craft-cut steak while you watch the world pass you by, and storms howl across Lake Ontario from the restaurant’s glasswalled dining room.
Cultural gems include The Art Gallery of Burlington (Ontario’s 7th largest public art gallery), as well as The Burlington Performing Arts Centre – a spectacular venue for musical, theatrical and dance performances.
Canada’s largest botanic gardens, The Royal Botanical Gardens, blosoms throughout the year. Winter blooms include orchids, cacti and tropical treasures. From mid- January to April, experience the Ice Age Exhibit, which features ice-age mammals and real fossils, as well as intriguing interactives and murals by palaeoartist George ‘Rinaldino’ Teichmann.
Ring in the New Year with a family skate at the Bronte Creek Provincial Park, and then head on over to Mountsberg Conservation Area for a horse-drawn sleigh ride and more New Year’s Eve fun.
Downtown Oakville is an ecclectic mix of retail and culinary discoveries. Cultural destinations include the Oakville Museum at Erchless Estate (Oakville’s founding family), the Oakville Centre for the Performing Arts, as well as fine galleries.
To appreciate the stunning heritage homes that are part of the founding community, a tour of the lakeshore is a must.
Bronte Heritage Waterfront Park, in scenic Bronte Village (est. 1834), has a wonderland of walking opportunities, including a beach, a boardwalk, trails, bluffs and a lighthouse. Up-scale shops, and ubiquitous lake views, offer up big-city choice within an authentic small-town vibe.
THE BEST OF THE BEST
Kerr Village, just west of Downtown Oakville, is a chic spot to dine. Threefifths of the village’s restaurants are top-ranked on TripAdvisor, including Maro’s and Jac’s Bistro.
A Taste of Oakville is a culinary highlight served up in downtown Oakville and Bronte Village from late January to mid-February. The event features wallet-friendly, prix-fixe menus – a savoury way to try out a host of new restaurants.
The Canadian Golf Hall of Fame and Museum, located on the grounds of the long-time Canadian Open, Glenn Abbey Golf Course, is a celebration of all things golf, including exceptional books and magazines about the game. Dedicated to the game’s history, the museum profiles golf’s superstar players, amateur players and game builders.
The Oakville Museum celebrates Black History Month in February with exhibits that feature the town’s key role in the Underground Railroad.