Point Pelee National Park, Ontario Canada

by Guest Blogger Dave Cooper

Part One…

Point Pelee National Park lies in Essex County in Southwestern Ontario near Leamington and tapers to a point as it extends into Lake Erie. Residing on the 42nd Parallel North, Point Pelee National Park shares this latitude with the Island of Corsica, France; Rome, Italy; Jilin in the People’s Republic of China; the Oregon-California border and the New York-Pennsylvania border in the United States.

Originally inhabited by indigenous people from AD 700 and many centuries later shared  with Europeans Settlers, subsequently, the Chippewa people were forced from this area and this land remains unceded indigenous land. Point Pelee was made a national park in 1918 by the urging of bird watchers and hunters.


The point is part of a series of stepping stones across Lake Erie for the great migration of over 360 species of birds as well as butterflies and dragon flies every spring and fall. Lake Erie moderates the temperatures here by cooling more slowly than the surrounding land but the point still experiences warm humid summers and cold winters. The record high temperature here was recorded at 34.5C or 91.1F and the record low was  -27C or 16.6F.

On my visit here on October 5th 2012 I saw only four monarch butterflies and very few birds, only the hawks, bluejays and these wild turkeys, which stay here year round.


Canada’s most southern point of land has many walking trails, from beach walks to boardwalks to broad paved roads. One path took us to an abandoned cemetery, last used in the early 1900s.


Copyright ©Dave Cooper 2012.   Visit davecooperphotography.ca

Quote: Autumn is in full blast!

Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.
George Eliot 

Paris, Ontario

Ontario – Please Come See!

I am currently on a road trip to experience the wild in the US and Canada and can’t wait to share my experience.


While I am away – please view these Tourism Ontario videos. There is much to see where I come from, although I am out experiencing a few different places in the world.

Fantasy Friday – Bruce Peninsula

I’ve heard so much about “The Bruce” from many cottagers in the Toronto area.

Growing up near London, Ontario, our beach/cottage get-aways always consisted of going south instead of north to beaches such as Long Point, Port Dover and Turkey Point.

I really feel like I missed out on some gorgeous northern/ish landscapes by not visiting the Bruce Peninsula, aside from Sauble Beach once upon a time. I barely remember anything about it, except that the water was freeeeezing!

So a little fantasy about an area very close to where I am right now: the Bruce Peninsula.

Here’s my agenda:

1. Hiking in Bruce Peninsula National Park of Canada for this:

The Niagara Escarpment runs from Niagara Falls to Tobermory. It forms the backbone of the Peninsula and shapes the northern boundary of most of the park, providing our new park with some of its most spectacular scenery. The rock of the Escarpment is very old.

Since the last Ice Age, water levels in the region have undergone great changes. Softer limestone has been eroded away by water action, leaving magnificent overhanging cliffs at various points along the shore. These are the big attraction of the Cyprus Lake trails.

Where erosion has cut more deeply, caves have been formed, like the Grotto on the shore between Marr Lake and Georgian Bay Trails. Great blocks of dolomite, undercut by wave action, have tumbled from the cliffs above and can be clearlyseen below the surface of the deep, clean waters of Georgian Bay.

Commonly seen wildlife on The Bruce Peninsula includes chipmunk, squirrel, raccoon, porcupine, snowshoe hare, skunk, white-tailed deer, snakes and frogs. Black bear, fox, fisher, martin and the Massasauga rattlesnake are not as commonly seen.

2. Greig’s Cave to experience this:

Enjoy a one hour hike through the rugged forested trails and explore the natural limestone caves where part of the movie Quest for Fire was filmed, but come prepared with good hiking shoes with a good tread, as the rocks may be slippery. You will also need a flashlight for some parts of the cave.

3. Sauble Beach (again) to watch the gorgeous sunset, walk along the softest sand, and star-gaze at night, like so:

Lake Huron shoreline is where you’ll find 11 km of the softest sand and most pristine waters in Ontario: SAUBLE BEACH. Sounds like paradise? While the beach is the main attraction for many visitors, there are plenty of activities as well as a vibrant commercial sector. As evening falls, Sauble Beach offers perfect views of the world’s most spectacular sunsets over Lake Huron. Star gazing in Sauble Beach is an astron-omer’s dream come true. The lack of urban lighting allow for amazing views of the heavens!

The beautiful sand dunes of Sauble Beach are part of an ecosystem that has evolved over thousands of years. The dunes provide natural shore protection, and are home to many rare and unique plants and grasses. Please respect our beach and use the boardwalks to protect the dunes and their plant life. We all want to enjoy our world-class beach for generations to come.

4. Hike the Singing Sands Trail at Dorcas Bay:

This trail crosses a small stream, then turns left following a two-track path through the woods. In the spring, many wildflowers can be seen along the way. At the end of the trail, one can loop back following the rocky shoreline of Dorcas Bay, ending back at the sandy beach of the starting point.

5. Visit Devil’s Monument and marvel in the physical forces that shaped this ‘flowerpot’:

Devil’s Monument is a 44′ “flowerpot” formation located inshore on the coast of Georgian Bay. This large inland flowerpot or stack was formed by wave action from a post-glacial lake 5,500 years ago. It is directly on the Bruce Trail – accessible from the end of Cape Chin North Road on the Bruce peninsula.

It’s unique formation makes this a true wonder of the earth and should not be missed on your trip “Down Cape Chin North Rd Tourist Area” The Niagara Escarpment represents a “driftless area” in Southern Ontario, where the rock outcrops and landforms are exposed.

Nature Trails in Downtown Toronto – Part 2

Last week, I rediscovered a trail I enjoyed jogging along in downtown Toronto.

It’s always nice to know there is a place where I am surrounded by green trees and shrubs, twittering birds and a few squirrel to encounter (and a cow!).

I tried a new route yesterday, and it involved touring by Riverdale Farm where it is possible to see farm animals such as cow, pig, and donkey among high rises and hazy downtown scenes.

Cow at Riverdale Farm

Don River below the Don Valley Parkway

Don Valley Parkway and a secret/unused off ramp

Back home through Cabbagetown

This is a must do trail again. The air is ALMOST fresh 🙂

PS – I actually DID do some jogging aside from taking a million pictures, in case you were wondering…

Jogging in Toronto

The weather is perfect now to take my exercise routine outside.

I really do not enjoy the treadmill, staring at a beige wall in front of me, and 2 other sweaty people on either side of me.

My jogging route outside actually inspired and motivates me to get up off the couch and explore what green we have in the city.

There are a few really nice jogging paths that take outdoor lovers into quiet, blooming and serene landscapes in downtown Toronto.

The one path I love to take is around the Don Valley, through several neighbourhoods, including Rosedale, Cabbagetown, Todmorden Mills, Riverdale Farm, and the edge of the Danforth.

A route modified from this map:

Check out the greenery from my iphone shots yesterday:

I have lived in Toronto for almost 7 years now, and recently discovered this path. It’s so nice to escape the concrete hustle and bustle of the city and take a peaceful jog though nature, like I remember from my childhood!

Savory Saturday – Go Canada!

Yesterday, I declared my fantasy destination as Han Island.

A tiny little guy, about the size of my condo who’s fate has been debated between a tug-of-war between Canada and Denmark.

Not to smack talk Denmark – I can’t wait to go there! But why not make my meal today something very tacky – Canadian Beaver Tails (NOT made from real beavers!!). And tackily get the “gourmet” recipe from ehow.com.

Not tacky is how gooooood they taste (especially with coffee)!

Beaver tails are Canadian donuts shaped in the form of a beaver tail. They’re very popular in Ontario, Canada during the winter months and are served at the Rideau Canal, the longest skating rink in the world.


How to make true Canadian Beaver Tails:
  • 1

    In a large bowl, stir in the yeast, water and a pinch of sugar. Allow to stand for a few minutes to allow the yeast to expand and dissolve. Stir in the remaining sugar, milk, vanilla, eggs, salt, oil and a majority of the flour to make a dough. Knead for 5-8 minutes. Place in an oiled bowl.

  • 2

    Place bowl in a plastic bag and seal. Let the dough rise for about 30-40 minutes. You can refrigerate the dough if you like. Gently deflate the dough. If you do put it in the refrigerator, allow it to warm to room temperature for about 40 minutes before moving any further with the recipe.

  • 3

    Once the dough is ready. Pull off a golf ball sized piece. Roll it out into an oval and place onto a towel while you get your fryer ready.

  • 4

    Add about 4 inches of oil to a fryer. The best temperature for frying the beaver tails should be about 185 degrees. You can test the oil by dropping in a pinch of the dough. If it sizzles and enlarges immediately, the temperature is just right.

  • 5

    Continue to pull more golf ball sized pieces of the dough. Stretch out the ovals into a tail shape, thinning and enlarging as you do so. Add the beaver tails to the fryer, 1-2 at a time. Fry until the deep undersides are brown and then flip just once to repeat. Lift out the beaver tails and place onto a paper towel to absorb any excess oil.

  • 6

    Fill a bowl with granulated sugar and toss beaver tails into bowl, you can add cinnamon as well if you like, and shake off the excess. Enjoy your beaver tails!