On my birthday weekend, I decided to visit a location I had only seen by train or car: McLaughlin Bay. In fact, I didn't even know the correct name of the location; I thought it was part of Darlington Provincial Park! I remembered seeing the bay from the train as I made my way to Ottawa or Montreal for business trips.
McLaughlin Bay is a wildlife reserve right on the edge of Lake Ontario, right behind the GM Canada headquarters and is apparently also owned by GM. There are plenty of walking trails, including one designed specifically for the visually impaired (The Dogwood Trail). On this particular visit, I did not spend on a lot of time on the trails, though. My focus was the sheltered, frozen bay itself and then making my way to the shoreline.
The network of 11 trails also connect to the Second Marsh Wildlife Area and (hence my original error) Darlington Provincial Park.
According to the Ontario Trails website, there are nearly 400 species of flora and a great number of native birds, mammals and fish. Once at the lakeshore, my treat was to see swans a-swimming - and flying - nearby.
The bay seems completely sheltered from lake and was frozen over quite solidly. People were skating, playing hockey, cross country skiing all around the bay. On the eastern side of the bay I could see a tiny log cabin - a symbol of the pioneer settlers who made the lake their home.
Once past the bay and onto the rock-covered beach, I was exposed to the true environment of the lake. The beach was littered with old, large fallen trees, the exposed roots worn smooth by wind and rain. The weak February sun was no match for the wind whipping off the water; I nearly lost my Tilley hat more than once.
To my surprise and joy, though, I sighted swans both on the water and in flight. While I traversed the snow and ice-covered shore, every so often, I could catch glimpses of the bay.
While on the shore, the day became overcast and the wind grew stronger. It was time to pack up and head home. But this is yet another location I know I will return to.