Fairy Lake in Southampton is located right in the community's core, offering a pleasant respite from a bustling tourist community in the middle of summer. A frothy fountain splashes in the centre of the lake while a nature trail wraps itself around its perimeter. Swans, ducks and geese can be fed the corn available at the dispensing machines along the lake's edge (avoid using bread crusts as it is unhealthy for the waterfowl). On sunny days, snapping turtles congregate on their favourite log to soak up some sunshine. Keep an eye for them while walking the trail. Huge carp can be spotted swimming just beneath the water's surface, but fishing is NOT allowed as the hooks and lines are hazardous to the waterfowl who make the lake their home.
Pioneer Park, also in Southampton, is its own outdoor marine heritage museum. Dedicated to those brave souls whose livelihood depended on the often treachourous waters of Lake Huron, several memorials grace the grounds. A replica set of storm signal baskets have been erected here by the Southampton Propellor Club (the original set and part of the original pole are in the Bruce County Museum)--check out the diagrams on the side of the shed to see the meanings of the various configurations of the baskets. For a small fee, a pair of viewfinders offers a close-up look at Chantry Island, its lighthouse and bird sanctuary. A great place to browse, have a picnic (there are picnic tables and benches) or simply relax and soak up the view of Lake Huron where it meets the mouth of the Saugeen River. Close to public washrooms, it is a great spot for sunset viewing, too!
The Chantry Dune System
Sunsets are only one of Southampton's natural wonders! Along Southampton's shoreline is a unique and fragile dune ecosystem. One of the few intact natural dune systems in Ontario's urban areas, the dunes protect the shoreline from destructive storm waves. They also provide a suitable environment for numerous types of flora and fauna which flourish in a hot, dry climate. Special grasses have been planted to prevent erosion of the dunes; trails marked by wooden rails allow visitors to view the dunes' special characteristics without damaging or disturbing this sensitive ecosystem. Interpretive signs are posted at the entrance to the dunes at the access points along the shore.
Visitors to Southampton's beach are asked to stay within the rails as they travel to and from the beach area. This helps prevent further degradation of the dunes and disturbance of plant life. Loss of plants means increased erosion and, eventually, no sand dunes.
Coulter's Parkette, located in Port Elgin's downtown core, is a great place to take a break from shopping and people-watch for awhile. Dedicated to the memory of popular former town clerk, William (Bill) Coulter, it is located at the corner of Green and Goderich (Hwy 21) Streets. Enjoy food and drink from one of the downtown eateries and watch the world go by while you snack! Public washrooms are nearby. In mid-November, the Parkette glows when the annual tree-lighting ceremony kicks off the Christmas season in Port Elgin and area, a fun, family celebration for all!
Nodwell Park at the corner of Market and Highland Streets has a paved track for safe, off-road walking, biking and in-line skating. A paved hockey/basketball pad awaits the young and not-so-young athlete. With a playground--wheelchair accessible!-- for the children, picnic tables, benches and only a short walk to the waterfront, Nodwell Park is a nice change from the beach or a handy alternative for those so-so weather days when beachin' it just doesn't work!
Historical Footnote: Nodwell Park was once the site of the Huron Indians and evidence of their longhouses was discovered here.
North Shore Park
Benches and picnic tables set right along a rocky shoreline make spectacular sunset viewing from Port Elgin's Northshore Park. A paved pathway is open to walkers, joggers, cyclists and in-line skaters and continues right along the shore past the harbour into the public beach area. The park's large, leafy trees offer a cool respite from the summer's heat and a sheltered picnic area makes eating out of doors an option even on rainy days. A little steam engine and train make the loop through the park and back to the harbour--an excursion the whole family will enjoy! Playground equipment for the wee ones is located within the park, as are washroom facilities.
Tucked in on Waterloo Street just west of Highway 21, let the kids romp and play to work off some steam on the playground equipment at this neighbourhood park. Enjoy lunch or a snack at one of the park's picnic tables. Please note that the park is not equipped with washroom facilities.
Dunsmoor Park, located on the water at the base of Durham Street, is the musical mecca of Kincardine for the summer months! Every Wednesday evening, enjoy the tunes of Music in the Park and let your own musical talent shine at the weekly Sunday Evening Sing-a-longs, a Kincardine tradition for almost 40 years. There are public washroom facilities available at the park. For family picnics and reunions, the park can be booked free of charge.
Adjacent to Dunsmoor Park is the Pavilion, the last of the once-popular lakeshore dance halls on the Big Band circuit. It first opened in 1923 and still boasts the finest dance floor this side of Sarnia.
With its historic atmosphere, sheltering trees and attractive gardens, Victoria Park is a jewel tucked into the centre of Kincardine. Cannons from the Crimean War pay homage to the town's military heritage and the ornate fountain--built to commemorate Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee on May 24, 1897--has aptly become the symbol of the park.
Many of the community's events are held here in the park, including the Scottish Pipe Band Parades, Flea & Farmers Markets, Scottish Festival, Mass Pipes and Drums Festival, Teddy Bear Parade, Canada Day Celebrations and Art in the Park. The park is the starting point for the annual Heritage Walk. Public washrooms can be found at the west end of Victoria Park in the Arts Centre Building; they are equipped with handicapped washrooms and baby changing centres.
Beyond the Beach--Kincardine's Skatepark
If the skater in the family packed their skateboard in hopes of using it while on holiday, they're in luck! Beside the Davidson Centre on Durham Street, there is a skatepark open daily from 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Helmets must be worn while using this municipally-owned park and the use of protective equipment is highly recommended. Cost is $2 to use it--money can either be placed in the box located at the park or dropped off at the Davidson Centre.
Further information on the park can be obtained through the Kincardine Recreation Department
Riverside Park, located on the banks of the Saugeen River, pretty much has it all for those who like to be active! A skateboard park, tennis courts, basketball nets, sand volleyball courts and horseshoe pits are all located at this park and are all free of charge for the general public.
For more information on these and other parks in the sunsets.com communities, please contact the local information centres.
Point Clark offers up several Parks! Lions Park, Blue Park, Lighthouse Park, Attawandaron Park, and Point Clark Ball Park! For full details, click HERE.
Area Provincial Parks and Conservation Areas:
- Denny's Dam Conservation Area
- MacGregor Point Provincial Park
- Friends of MacGregor Point Park
- Brucedale Conservation Area
- Inverhuron Provincial Park
- Stoney Island Conservation Area
- Saugeen Bluffs Conservation Area
- McBeath Conservation Area