Madisen, 11, and Samuel, 8, enjoying their cones at Four Sweets Cookies
Welcome to those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer. Those days of ice cream and sunshine and bees.
Ice cream treats in Highland Creek
Ice cream cones have come to Highland Creek Village and they’re a welcome summer treat! Four Sweets Cookies, which shares a store with Mark’s Pizzas, is offering full ice cream service. In May, they had “Sundaes on Sundays” with Kawartha Dairy ice cream in a variety of flavours by the cone, in a sandwich or as a sundae.
Owner Kirsten Goritsas said, “We freshly bake the chocolate chip cookies from scratch that we use in the ice cream sandwiches, and they are made to order with your choice of ice cream flavour and finisher.” For their sundaes, they offer a house-made butter tart or brownie base, slightly warmed and topped with your choice of ice cream. They finish the sundaes off with house-made caramel and chocolate ganache and candy choice.
The shop offers walk up window service to allow people to stay safe and distanced. As school winds down and the weather continues to improve, they will add on more opening times in the evenings.
Take a ride on the wild side
The Meadoway is transforming a hydro corridor in Scarborough into a 16-kilometre stretch of trail beside a meadow landscape filled with butterflies, birds and wildflowers. The path will connect seven river and ravine systems and 15 parks. More than 200 hectares of grass are being transformed into an area that creates habitat for native plants, pollinators and wildlife. In June, wild lupins, tall coreopsis or tall tickseed, and blue flag Iris will be blooming. There are also signs along the trail to give you more information on what you’re seeing.
The part of The Meadoway closest to our area runs north of the 401 between Conlins and Meadowvale Rds. Conlins has bike lanes so it’s a pleasant ride and relatively easy to get there. Once you’ve passed the 401 you’ll see the entrance on the right. You can ride all the way to Meadowvale and take either that street or Sheppard down to Port Union. Both those routes involve going over the 401, which can be tricky. You can also take the trail back to Conlins.
So much to see along the waterfront
Sunshine, water, sand and pebbles combined with an easy trail lead to perfect days at the Port Union Waterfront! People of all ages and backgrounds visit this beautiful part of Scarborough right in our own backyard. Walkers, runners, strollers, bicycles, tricycles, roller blades, scooters and skateboards share nature’s bounty offered for free at this Lake Ontario shore.
“We come here often to get close to the water” and “We love the fresh air and the sights and sounds of nature up so close” are sentiments shared by many. As the birds return to this area, watch for them as they take up residence in the birdhouses along the trail. And keep an eye out for the different types of ducks and the graceful swans out on the lake or in the Rouge marsh. As we all stayed close to home in the past year, many of us are discovering the bounty of nature in our parks and ravine areas.
We’re so lucky here in Centennial that this waterfront gem is just an extension of our neighbourhood!
Lots to do at Adams Park
We may not be going far this summer, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have lots of fun at our local parks. If you want to watch a baseball game, eat an al fresco lunch or take a walk through the woods on a “secret” trail, you don’t have to go far. Adams Park offers all these things and more. Whether you access the park on the south side off Lawson Road or drive in off Port Union Road via Rozell Road, the large park has lots of parking and enough green space to accommodate everyone.
Visitors can spread out a blanket and enjoy a picnic, or use one of the barbecue pits and cook up something hot – either way, the sunshine makes the food taste better! If you want to burn off some of those calories, take a walk through the hidden trail. Just walk behind the baseball diamond – way behind – and you will see a little opening in the trees. Follow the path and enjoy the smells of the little forest as you explore. The park also has a fantastic playground and splash pad for the kids.
A trail for everyone
We are really fortunate in Centennial to have an abundance of trails to explore, and summer is the optimal time to relax outdoors. So what could be better than a fun walk or ride on some local scenic trails?
There’s a trail for everyone—from those who prefer a short stroll to those long-haulers. The new UTSC Valley Land Trail takes about half an hour to complete, whereas the connecting Highland Creek and Colonel Danforth Trails could take half a day. There is also a connection with the Waterfront Trail for those energetic enough to carry on.
Walking, running, hiking, and biking are great ways to enhance mental and physical well-being, especially as spending time in nature is a big stress reducer.
But before hitting the trails there are some things to consider. In addition to your water bottle and granola bar, don’t forget your face mask and hand sanitizer, and be aware of your social responsibility of physical distancing, even while outdoors.
You can find a selection of local trails at: ccranews.com/trails
Hike or paddle in the Rouge
Going for a hike in the Rouge should be on everyone’s bucket list this summer. For those looking for a little more adventure, I would recommend paddling a canoe, kayak or stand-up paddleboard to explore the river. From lake Ontario, you can paddle 2.5 km to the 401. Along the way, you will be treated to an adventure. Keep an eye out for the witch’s hut about halfway up the river where you can spin your own tale of who lived there long ago. For nature lovers, keep your eyes peeled for great blue herons that use the river as a breeding ground in the summer. The Rouge is also fortunate to have a local beaver. If you don’t see the Canadian mascot in the fur, you can see its handiwork. Note: TRCA does not permit the use of motorized watercraft of any sort and fishing from boats is prohibited. Keep in mind that we want to protect this space so don’t litter or damage any branches. You can even go one further and pick up any waste you see along the way.
Identify the flora in Col. Danforth Park
The earliest native wildflowers of the season were on display in Colonel Danforth Park in mid-May. The lovely spring ephemerals were popping up out of the dead leaves on the forest floor at that time. Trilliums, yellow trout lilies or dog-tooth violets, wood anemone, sweet violets and pioneer violets could all be seen if you looked closely.
The most striking-looking plants were the mayapples. They stand about 12” to 18” tall with large leaves that form an umbrella shape, and they often cover wide areas. Mayapples have large white flowers that you have to search for because they are hidden under the leaves. The flowers will become fruit that will ripen in the summer and can be used in preserves and jellies.
If you want to identify plants you don’t recognize, there are useful phone apps that can help. There are a number of them including PlantNet, iNaturalist and PictureThis. You take a picture, upload it and the app will make suggestions. These apps can make a trip to the park a learning adventure.