Unforgettable Ontario(Firefly, 2018) by Noel Hudson, takes readers through different destinations in Ontario, Canada. Discover the beautiful places you and your family can visit. Find this excerpt in Chapter 9 and Chapter 33.
Long Point World Biosphere Reserve, Wildlife Area & Bird Observatory
“Long Point’s vital marshlands.”
Photography © vagabond54/Shutterstock.com
Reaching almost 40 kilometres (25 mi) into Lake Erie, Long Point is the world’s longest freshwater sand spit. Through the ongoing support of conservation groups and all levels of government, it continues to exist as a natural oasis, despite being only a stone’s throw from Canada’s most densely populated region.
This sandy spit is a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve and home to Long Point Provincial Park, Long Point National Wildlife Area and the Long Point Bird Observatory/Bird Studies Canada, North America’s oldest bird observatory.
The Long Point National Wildlife Area makes up the core of the biosphere reserve. Some 370 species of birds, 102 species of fish, 46 species of mammals, 34 species of amphibians and reptiles and 91 species of butterflies have been recorded here. Habitats include woodlands, sand dunes, bluffs, marshes, ponds, meadows, beaches and lakeshore.
The spit contains some of Canada’s largest tracts of temperate Carolinian forest and is home to 1,384 species of plants. Hardwood species, including the sugar maple, American beech, basswood, red ash, white oak and butternut dominate, but you will also find the sweet gum, tulip tree, cucumber tree, American sycamore, pawpaw, Kentucky coffee-tree, honey locust, black tupelo, blue ash, sassafras, pignut hickory, shellbark hickory, black oak, pumpkin ash, Ohio buckeye, pin oak, black walnut and red mulberry.
Long Point’s marsh areas are main stopover points for migrating land birds and waterfowl. The Long Point Bird Observatory was established in 1960 to monitor migrant birds on the point, and the national headquarters of Bird Studies Canada overlooks Long Point’s Inner Bay. The downloadable “Long Point Birding Trail,” from Bird Studies Canada, provides an overview of local birding hot spots and has been designed to maximize the chances of seeing a good selection of birds. All of the Birding Trail’s 40 sites are publicly accessible. Waterfowl viewing is at its best in March and April, migrating birds in fall and spring, and monarch butterflies (on their way to Mexico) in August and September.
Ship travel across the Great Lakes reached an all-time high in the mid- to late 1800s. Long Point was a navigational landmark — and hazard — for ships travelling across Lake Erie. Constantly shifting sandbars often caught ships off guard, and Long Point Peninsula has claimed more the 200 vessels — more than the Bermuda Triangle. As a result, Long Point has also become a top destination for Great Lakes diving enthusiasts.
Things to See & Do
- Go for the birds — some 370 species.
- Count the countless species of amphibians, reptiles and mammals.
- See the monarch butterflies in August and September.
- Dive among the 200 ships in the “Long Point Triangle.”
Long Point Provincial Park
P.O. Box 99
350 Erie Blvd
Port Rowan, ON
“The barn swallow, one of Long Point’s 370 recorded species.”
Photography © Chris Hill/Shutterstock.com
St. Lawrence Market
“This massive 19th-century brick building in downtown Toronto is home to the city’s largest market.”
Photography © Kiev.Victor/Shutterstock.com
Truly one of the world’s great markets, St. Lawrence Market caters to neighbourhood residents, is a destination market for Torontonians from other parts of the city and is a popular downtown attraction for visitors and tourists. The food is fresh, the air is aromatic, and the banter is jovial.
Located in the heart of historic Old Toronto, the St. Lawrence Market Complex comprises three main buildings: the South Market, the North Market and St. Lawrence Hall.
The South Market’s main and lower levels are home to more than 120 specialty vendors offering some of the city’s best fruits and vegetables, meat, fish, grains and baked goods, and dairy products, as well as unique non-food items. Almost every culture’s cuisine is properly represented here. The Market Gallery, an exhibition space for the City of Toronto’s Cultural Services, is found on the second floor of the South Market.
The North Market is best known for its Saturday Farmers’ Market, which has been held on this site (in a sequence of buildings) since 1803. Farmers from all over southern Ontario bring their freshest seasonal produce to market here. On Sundays, the North Market and surrounding plaza host over 80 antique dealers, who display their wide range of wares from early morning until 5 p.m. It’s a great way to spend a rainy day. (At the time of writing, the North Market was being redeveloped, with a temporary structure at 125 The Esplanade serving as Saturday Farmers’ Market and the Sunday Antique Market.)
Built in 1850 and restored to its original grandeur in 1967, St. Lawrence Hall houses retail businesses on the ground floor and City offices on the second floor. The third floor contains the Great Hall, an extremely popular rental space for weddings and other special events.
The Market also offers cooking classes, knife skills sessions, History Talk & Tea gatherings and other weekly and monthly events. In May, the St. Lawrence Market neighbourhood witnesses the Criterion Bike Race, with $20,000 in prizes, while in June, there’s Woofstock, North America’s “largest outdoor festival for dogs.” Every August, BuskerFest takes over the streets for four days.
Things to See & Do
- Try a new food from one of more than 120 vendors.
- Spend Sunday at the Antique Market.
- Take a specialty cooking class.
- Attend Woofstock.
St. Lawrence Market
92–95 Front Street East
Toronto, ON M5E 1C3
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