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Botany Hotspots

Burlington
Royal Botanical Gardens Woodland Cemetery
LaSalle Park Kerncliff Park
Oakville
Petro Canada Park Bronte Creek Provincial Park
Heritage Trail System    
Mississauga
Rattray Marsh Conservation Area University of Toronto at Mississauga
Creditview Wetland    
And Beyond
Ontario beyond the SPNC Area    

This is a selection of places to search for botany treasures in the South Peel Naturalists' Club area, and places of interest beyond.

Directions to locations are noted after each hotspot description. The site maps are a courtesy of MapArt Publishing - Golden Horseshoe atlas, and were prepared by
Mike Foell of the MapArt Cartographic Team and a member of our Club.

Burlington

Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG) (View Map )
The extensive holdings of the RBG offer a variety of garden plants in a beautiful setting. However, for the naturalist looking for native plants in woodland or marsh habitats, the RBG offers numerous trails to explore. For information on trails and extensive land holding, visit the Nature Center. Cootes Paradise trail offers a wide variety of woodland plants, starting with Hepatica, then trillium and violets in the spring and ending with asters and goldenrods in the fall. The trail follows the water and provides interesting wetland and marsh plants: skunk cabbage, cattails and waterlillies.

DIRECTIONS: From the QEW take Hwy 403 west towards Hamilton. Exit at Hwy 6 north (exit 93) towards Guelph. Turn right at the first lights (Plains Road) and follow the signs to the RBG Center.

Woodland Cemetery (View Map )
Located on Spring Gardens Road near the Royal Botanical Gardens Centre, Woodlands Cemetery offers a variety of shrubs, trees and flowers. Although few native species can be seen, it nevertheless offers an interesting variety of plants.

DIRECTIONS: From the QEW take Hwy 403 west towards Hamilton. Exit at Hwy 6 north (exit 93) towards Guelph. Turn right at the first lights (Plains Road) and follow it to Spring Garden Road located on the right.

LaSalle Park Marina (View Map )
The marina offers birders an opportunity to view various waterfowl, but those with an interest in botany should take the opportunity to walk the woodland trails and waterside paths. Very large trees, a variety of native plants and shrubs and interesting fungi provide the botanist with unique experience.

DIRECTIONS: From the QEW - Niagara . Exit at Brant Street. Turn left on Brant to Plains Road. Turn right on Plains to LaSalle Park Road. Turn left on LaSalle and follow it to the end, where the parking lot for Burlington Sailing and Boating Club is the access point to LaSalle Park.

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Kerncliff Park
This property was originally the site of the Nelson Quarry which ceased operations approximately 30 years ago.. The area is undergoing a phased restoration and development plan by the City of Burlington. It includes the stabilization of the quarry walls, creation of boardwalks across the wetland environments, walkways through the Carolinian Forest. The City has planted native plant gardens, which are especially lovely in the summer with the rudbeckia and butterfly weed flowering. During spring the Red-winged blackbirds nest and rails have been seen in the marsh. Located on the Niagara Escarpment, with magnificent views of the City and Lake Ontario, the park has access to the Bruce Trail. A pavilion, washrooms and ample parking provide services to visitors.

DIRECTIONS: From Brant and Dundas Streets drive west to Kerns Road. Turn left or south on Kerns Road to Kerncliff Park located on the left (east) just south of Dundas

Oakville

Petro Canada Park (View Map )
This small park is situated on the floodplain valley of Bronte Creek (aka Twelve Mile Creek). A soccer playing field dominates the area north of the parking lot but a variety of plants can be found around the edges of the field and by walking the trails to the north. A path also leads to and south along the edge of the Creek.

DIRECTIONS: From the QEW take Bronte Rd. south, The park is on the left just passed Wyatt Street. A word of caution, the entrance is a very narrow driveway (occasionally gated) and is easy to miss.

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Bronte Creek Provincial Park (View Map )
Although managed as a recreational park, Bronte Creek Provincial Park is arguably the best, extensive remaining example of natural habitat in the district. Visits to its varied habitats during the course of the year will yield many interesting and unusual plants. Bronte Creek divides this park into two distinct sections. West - half is a developed day-use park. Well maintained trails give an opportunity to see woodland, open meadow and fence row plant habitats. The edge of the valley provides a good look out to the treed creek valley. East - Until recently the east half remained in a naturalizing state. A portion of it has been developed for overnight camping. Trails along the top of the Creek valley and along an electric power cut provide a variety of woodland and 'disturbed edge' plants. The impact of camping has resulted in multiple patches of manicured lawn in the sites but areas in between provide open or regenerating fields can still prove interesting.

DIRECTIONS: For the west entrance, take Burloak Rd. north of the QEW to the park entrance which is on the right. For the east entrance, take the QEW to Bronte Rd. north to Upper Middle Road, and turn left. This is a dead end road. The campground has a day-use parking lot. User fees are in effect at the park.

Heritage Trail System (View Map )
The ravines and valleys of Sixteen Mile Creek can be accessed through the Heritage Trail system developed by the Town of Oakville. A variety of woodland and 'disturbed area' plants provide an interesting variety. Spring Beauties, Trilliums and Trout Lilies (yellow and white) blend with other herbaceous plants. The highlight however can be viewed in early June with clumps of Twin Leaf and masses of pink/blue bells of the Mertensia.virginica, or Virgina Cowslip, but are more commonly referred to as Virginia Blubells. In conjunction with the City of Oakville, SPNC members are cooperating to ensure that Garlic Mustard is does not crowd out the bluebells. It is encouraging to see errant patches of bluebell plants appearing in other areas in the valley.

DIRECTIONS: There are multiple access points to the trails. On the west side of the Creek, a small parkette with parking off Skyvalley Crescent, Three blocks north Upper Middle Road on the extension of Dorval Drive. On the east side, access is off Neyagawa Blvd, 100 metres north of Upper Middle Road.

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Mississauga

Rattray Marsh Conservation Area (View Map )
Rattray Marsh is a very local, easily accessed area with a wide variety of plant habitats - from marsh/water edge to hardwood forest. Carolinian species, including sassafras and shagbark hickory, grow side-by-side with northern Boreal plants such as Beaked Hazel and Clintonia or Blue Bead Lily. An excellent book - Rattray Marsh - Then and Now (ISBN 0-9693573-0-3) describes the many natural treasures of the Marsh and the struggle to preserve the Marsh. It details the various plant communities and floristic affiliations and has extensive listings of interesting and significant plant species. This book is available in most branches of the Mississauga library system. Copies are occasionally sold in area book stores or by calling 905 823-1572.

DIRECTIONS: Rattray Marsh is located on Lake Ontario east of Southdown Road in Clarkson. Rattray can be accessed from the surrounding neighborhood at a number of spots including Green Glades School off Meadowwood Road. The foot of Bexhill Road is another entrance to the Marsh or go to Jack Darling Park and walk west along the shore of Lake Ontario.

University of Toronto at Mississauga (Formerly Erindale College) (View Map )
Trails linking Saw-mill Valley Creek and the Credit River extend the natural areas on the campus to include a surprising variety of habitats at all seasons. The most direct access is to walk north from the North Building parking lot which leads to the principal's residence with its groomed lawn and flower beds an then east toward the wooded trails that wander above the Credit River.

DIRECTIONS: The campus is located west of Mississauga Road north of Dundas St. Woodland trails along the upper west bank of the Credit River may also be accessed from the east side of the Credit River through Erindale Park with parking off of Dundas Street.

Creditview Wetland (View Map )
After a ten year campaign the wetland is now owned and protected by the City of Mississauga. You cannot actually visit the Creditview Wetland as fencing protects this fragile and unique bog habitat from pedestrian and canine traffic.

DIRECTIONS: Access is from a small parkette off Willowvale Gardens east of Creditview Road and west of Fallingbrook Drive north of Eglinton Avenue.

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Ontario Beyond the SPNC Area

A useful book is A Nature Guide to Ontario (Federation of Ontario Naturalists - 1997) (ISBN 0-8020-2755-5, or 69\802-2 for paperback edition). This book showcases more than 600 of the best sites in Ontario and provides a geological history and habitat commentary as well as listing of significant fauna species.

Bruce Peninsula - During an end of May weekend in the Bruce Peninsula, SPNC members explore a wide variety of habitats including marsh, fen, woodland, lakeshore, alvar, limestone rock cliffs and outcrops. Known for its orchids, May is a little early to view most of this species except Yellow Lady Slipper which can be seen growing along roadsides like dandelions. Indian Paintbrush, Lakeside Daisy (Rubberweed or Manitoulin Gold), dwarf iris, Gaywings and Birdseye Primrose in profusion make up for limited orchid species at this time of year. Mid July provides Grass Pinks and Rose Pagonia in fen areas, while in late September these areas are blue with Fringed Gentian.

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