Whenever I talk to others about the great parks that they have camped at in the Ontario Parks system, Bronte Creek is never mentioned. Bronte Creek does not have a beach, massive forests or the Canadian Shield. What Bronte Creek does have, is lots of activities and a great location for those that live in or near the greater Toronto area (GTA). This is what makes it the fourth busiest park in the Ontario Parks system (after Wasaga Beach, Algonquin and The Pinery).
Environment: Bronte Creek is sandwiched between Oakville and Burlington, Ontario; on the north side of the Q.E.W. Bronte Creek was established in 1971 and is surrounded by the urban sprawl of southern Ontario. It occupies land that was formerly used for farming. A creek (also named Bronte Creek) flows through the park and splits it in half. Camping is accessible from Bronte Road, along the east side of the park. The day-use area is accessible from Burloak Drive, along the west side of the park. Much of the day-use area has been cleared and is used for recreation, however there are some beautiful forested trails that follow along the creek.
Biking: There are approximately 13 kilometres of trails and roads through the park. The trails are flat and many are paved. The bike trails are perfect for leisurely family outings. Bikes can be rented at the park.
Children’s Farm: The Children’s Farm is a “must-see” if you have children under 12 years of age. A mid 19th century barn has been converted into a play loft for children. It has slides, climbing apparatus, tunnels, etc. We have been taking our children there for the past 12 years. There is also the mini-zoo with barnyard animals that include: pigs, chicken, rabbits, goats and sheep. The Children’s Farm is open year round. Close by is an outdoor area with a jungle gym for children to play on.
Camping: There are 144 campsites, all with electrical hook-ups. The July-August campsite occupancy rate is only 57%, so there is a good chance that you can get a campsite. Bronte Creek provides an excellent location for visitors to the GTA who prefer to stay at a campground. Most park visitors reside in the GTA and only use the day-use portion of the park.
Hiking: There are 6 hiking trails in the day-use side of the park that range in length from 0.6-kilometres to 2.7 kilometres. My favourite trail is the Ravine Trail (2.7 kilometres). The Ravine Trail follows the Bronte Creek north to south park boundary lines along the west side of the ravine. There is a spectacular view along the ravine, looking across the creek to the east side of the park and most of the trail follows through a coniferous forest.
Nature Centre: Live animals and exhibits are viewable at the Nature Centre. You can see amphibians, birds, fish, insects, etc. The centre is open from May to September.
Shopping: There is a store in the day-use area of the park. Shopping opportunities are endless and only a few kilometres away in Oakville and Burlington.
Spruce Lane Farmhouse: A turn-of-the-century farmhouse, the Spruce Lane Farmhouse was built in 1899. It stands near an apple orchard that was part of the original farm. The farm is only open in the summer and has events and programs that showcase the history of the area. Bronte Creek has a Maple Syrup Festival in March and the festival is held near the Spruce Lane Farmhouse.
Swimming: There is a huge man-made swimming pool that is approximately 1.8 acres and up to six feet deep. The swimming pool is staffed with lifeguards; however, you must pay an additional fee to use the pool.
Winter Activities: There is an artificial skating rink, tobogganing and cross country skiing along the hiking trails.
Other Activities: There are numerous spots for picnics with shelters throughout the day-use area of the park. There is a baseball diamond and basketball and volleyball courts are also available.
In Conclusion: Our family has been day tripping at Bronte Creek for years because there is plenty to do and we always have a great time. You would be hard pressed to find a park in the Ontario Parks system (other than Algonquin) that provides this much variety for a day-trip. If you are a tourist to the GTA, this park provides a great location to set up your base camp.
My Park Rating: 4 out of 5