Where to Experience Durham's Natural Resources
In Durham we are lucky to have many parks, big and small, and many fine waterways that offer opportunities to see birds, animals and fish firsthand. We also have many trails that offer free access to natural areas. The following is a list of many of the places in Durham where you can see what nature has to offer.
Durham Region is fortunate to have one of Ontario's many beautiful Provincial Parks within its borders. Just east of Oshawa on the shore of Lake Ontario is Darlington Provincial Park which offers camping, picnicking, trails, fishing, bird watching and many other outdoor activities. There is a cost per vehicle for entry and a fee for camping. Reservations are needed for camping during busy seasons.
Most municipalities in Durham offer many neighbourhood parks as well as walking and bicycling trails. Learn more about local parks in your neighbourhood by visiting the parks and recreation section of municipal web sites.
Trails in Durham
One of the best ways to experience the natural resources of Durham Region is to walk, bike or hike the many trails in the area. The TransCanada Trail passes through parts of Durham and the Waterfront Trail follows the shore of Lake Ontario. Information and maps on trails and Conservation Areas in Durham Region can be downloaded from the Outdoors section of the Durham Tourism site.
Durham Region is also part of the Waterfront or Lakeshore Trail Association with a series of interconnecting walking and bicycling trails along the north shore of Lake Ontario. Learn more at the Waterfront Trail website.
The Central Ontario Conservation Area maintains many local conservation areas that offer a wide variety of natural areas that feature woodlands, marshes, grasslands, trails, picnic areas and recreation such as bird watching, hiking, and skating and tobogganing in the winter. Most are free or have a low daily fee.
Second Chance Wildlife Sanctuary, Pickering
Second Chance Wildlife Sanctuary was founded in 1996 by Joyce Smith who had been caring for animals from her home for 25 years. The sanctuary's mandate is to aid orphaned, sick or injured, and abandoned animals. Once rehabilitated, sick or injured animals animals are united with adoptive homes and domestic strays are housed with the hope of finding each one a good home.
The organization is completely volunteer based and is the only animal sanctuary in the Durham region. We are open year round and can be found on a 25 acre property generously donated by Club Link Properties Limited.
In addition to caring for our fur bearing and feathered friends, we aim to educate our community regarding animal issues of the day. We hope that you will take the time to browse through our site and find ways that you too can make a difference.
McLaughlin Bay Wildlife Reserve
In 1990, General Motors of Canada Limited celebrated the construction of their new "green" Canadian Corporate Headquarters as well as the creation of the McLaughlin Bay Wildlife Reserve. Named after the automakers' founder, Col. Sam McLaughlin, the Reserve has become a popular attraction for lovers of nature and peaceful surroundings.
The Reserve is situated on the north shore of Lake Ontario in south-east Oshawa, Ontario. It is readily visible from Highway 401 (Toronto to Montreal), and is located between the Second Marsh Wildlife Area (a Provincially Significant Wetland) on the west and Darlington Provincial Park (a heavily forested zone) on the east.
The Reserve occupies in excess of 41 ha (108 acres) of land owned and operated by General Motors of Canada Limited. An additional 40 ha of the same tract has been set aside for the office complex, parking and services, along with adequate buffer zones.
Home to almost 400 different varieties of plants, trees, shrubs and wildflowers, as well as a great number of native birds, mammals and fish, the McLaughlin Bay Wildlife Reserve features a number of walking trails, viewing platforms for photographers and birdwatchers as well as the Dogwood Trail, for use by partially-sighted or visually-impaired visitors. It is open to the public seven days a week, year-round, free of charge, and is wheel-chair accessible.
Oshawa Second Marsh
This wildlife habitat is a protected area and access is not allowed to the marsh itself however several recreational trails and wetlands border on the marsh. It just west of Darlington Provincial Park and is at the end of Colonel Sam Drive in Oshawa, behind the General Motors of Canada Headquarters. It also borders on the McLaughlin Bay Wildlife Reserve that offers walking trails and picnic areas.