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Getting outta Toronto

Old 06-19-13, 11:50 AM
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Getting outta Toronto

Question for anyone from Toronto out there:

How do you get outta this city? I live downtown and would like to plan just a short few days tour to check out some nearby nature reserves next month. I'm thinking of heading out northwest in the direction of Brampton and beyond, checking out Hockley Valley and Luther Marsh. Really just an excuse to get out there for a short trip.

What routes do you take to get outta this city? Any other short tours from Toronto you'd recommend? (I'm thinking 400km or less, round trip... I've only got a few days.)
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Old 06-19-13, 01:04 PM
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I've taken a few trips out of the city. A few options for destinations:
-Elora: I haven't been here personally, but I've heard great things from friends about it. Mostly back roads once you get out of the city. It's a bit NW of Guelph
-Niagara Falls: a more popular destination. You can follow the Waterfront Trail (https://www.waterfronttrail.org/), which is pretty good. I believe you can also take your bike back on VIA rail if you don't want to bike back (it's about $30)
-Anywhere east along Lake Ontario: the eastward along the Waterfront Trail. You can head towards Kingston, but don't have to go quite that far. The trail alternates between good and kind of crappy.

In terms of actually getting out of the city, I'd recommend taking the GO Train out to its farthest extent in the direction you're going and heading from there. It's a good way to get a jumpstart on getting out of the city. I've taken the GO to Oshawa and then biked up to Peterborough (Trent University) or east along the lake. There are some nice trails that will get you partway out of the city, but nothing consistent, which is why I like GO.
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Old 06-19-13, 02:08 PM
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Ah, I read your post too quickly. I'm not as familiar with getting out of the city at the west end, but I don't think there's a terribly easy way (west enders, correct me if I'm wrong -- I just don't know). I'd still recommend taking the GO. Even if you have to transfer to a bus, it's not bad at all. All the buses are equipped with bike racks at the front and it doesn't cost anything extra to bring a bike. You'll at least bypass a decent chunk of urban sprawl, which sounds like something you might like to do, based on the fact you're checking out nature reserves.

Whatever you end up doing, I'm interesting in hearing how your trip goes!
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Old 06-19-13, 02:13 PM
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I live in the east end, so when I leave the city to the north I take Don Mills/Leslie. Heading east I follow the Waterfront Trail.
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Old 06-19-13, 08:46 PM
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I agree with others who recommend taking the Go train out of Toronto.

When heading east, I have taken the train to Rouge Hills, or even to Oshawa, as a way to avoid traffic. Although it is possible to cycle through the streets of Toronto to exit the city to the east, it is not pleasant. As you are undoubtedly aware, Toronto has an embarrassingly underdeveloped cycling infrastructure. Holland, this is not!

I have gone west, beginning from Mississauga, along the Waterfront Trail. That route was fine. I have also traveled north and west in the direction of Brampton along Steeles. I would not do it again. In fact, I bailed when I arrived in Bramalea, and jumped on the Go train. The fast-moving cars and trucks, and total lack of cycle lanes, defeated me!

Once out of the city, however, there are wonderful rides to be had: the country roads around Elora, Milton, St. Jacobs, Georgetown, the forks of the Credit River, are top-notch. Going east, Prince Edward County is a jewel, a true cyclists paradise. Once you are out of Toronto and traveling east, the Waterfront Trail is fine, although sections of it are on the 401 Service Road. I am particularly fond of the lands north of Kingston, including Sydenham, Desert Lake Road, Holleford, and Westport. Along Holleford Road there is a giant meteor crater, the result of an impact 350 million years ago. You kind of need to know what you're looking for to spot it, but there is a sign by the side of the road to point out the impact point.
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Old 06-21-13, 09:42 AM
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Thanks. Good call on hopping on the GO. Sounds like a better idea than wasting all that time just getting out of the city! I was trying to plot my way and none of the options looked great. I'll let you know how things went sometime next month
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Old 06-21-13, 01:05 PM
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Originally Posted by acantor
Once out of the city, however, there are wonderful rides to be had: the country roads around Elora, Milton, St. Jacobs, Georgetown, the forks of the Credit River, are top-notch. Going east, Prince Edward County is a jewel, a true cyclists paradise. Once you are out of Toronto and traveling east, the Waterfront Trail is fine, although sections of it are on the 401 Service Road. I am particularly fond of the lands north of Kingston, including Sydenham, Desert Lake Road, Holleford, and Westport. Along Holleford Road there is a giant meteor crater, the result of an impact 350 million years ago. You kind of need to know what you're looking for to spot it, but there is a sign by the side of the road to point out the impact point.
Sounds like you've done a lot of exploring of SW Ontario. Those sound like great trips. Do you have a CGOAB journals or pictures or something?

To be more on-topic: Looking forward to hearing about the trip, mandika!
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Old 06-24-13, 03:02 PM
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I rode into Toronto 2 weekends ago basically like this and it was a mostly wonderful route. I did get a bit lost in Mississauga and ended up on the sawmill creek trail and it was a bit bumpy... the map shows this way as being nicer so I will try that next time I ride into town. I bonked and took the GO bus home... next time I wanna do the escape from Toronto too. The lakeshore part of the ride was really nice, in fact most of the ride was. The cycling around Kitchener is great and Hamilton is pretty nice too, a rail trail runs from Hamilton to Brantford and the ride up the grand from there is a spectacular mix of trails and quiet roads.
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