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Photo opportunities in Ontario

Robert Kuciak , Sep 23, 1998; 04:24 a.m.

For those living in Ontario Canada where are the best or unique locations to shoot foliage or just plain landscape/nature photographs. The locations would be preferably not more than 200 km from Toronto. Also did anyone ever photograph tornados and where they are most likely to occur in Ontario. Thanx for any info.

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Peter May , Sep 23, 1998; 11:26 a.m.

Robert, I'm not a Canadian, but was in Ontario in the Guelph area for a week earlier this summer. That's about 30-40 miles west of Toronto. Right around Guelph are a couple of decent sites - Guelph Lake park is pretty standard manicured park, but its a pretty lake with some nice wildflowers. The arboretum on the University of Guelph campus also has lots of photo ops if you're into wildflowers at all, and the birds are ok. The Kortright Waterfowl Park in Guelph has about 80 species of swans, geese and ducks, along with a bunch of deer, chipmunks, etc. in semi-natural settings, so you can get some decent nature shots there that don't look like they were taken in a zoo. Just north of Guelph is Elora Gorge Recreation Area, which has some nice scenic views of the Elora River. A bit further to the north (maybe 30 miles) is Mono Cliffs Provincial Park, which has some pretty forest, and some spectacular overviews of the countryside. If you're up for a longer drive, there are a bunch of national parks up in the Bruce Peninsula, which is about 100 mi. north of Guelph. Much more of a pristine forest feel to the area than most of the Toronto/Guelph countryside, which is mostly agricultural. Standard road maps will have all of the Recreational Areas, Provincial and National Parks marked. However, most of the recreational areas that I saw are rather short on nature and long on picnic facilities, ball fields, etc., so photo opportunities are limited. Its a pretty area - enjoy your trip.

Paul Lenson , Sep 23, 1998; 11:38 a.m.

I'm from Courtice ( 70 km east of Toronto). I was up at Algonquin Park this past weekend (Sept. 19,20,21). The leaves are wonderful on the west side of the park where maples predominant. I think through this week and into the weekend they will still be nice.

Clay Prescott , Sep 23, 1998; 12:25 p.m.

Close to Toronto are both the Niagara escarpment and the Royal Botanical Garden in the Hamilton area. Niagara Falls is also close by. The Parry Sound area is a bit further away, but easily accessible by car. As today is the first day of Fall, the trees might well be colourful in the Algonquin Park/Parry Sound area. But, here in the south, not too much is happening yet.We have had such a dry summer most leaves are simply scorched and falling off. It might not be a very photogenic year?

Mercifully tornado season has ended..I hope. We don't get very many, compared to Texas etc.. They usually occur to the east of Lake Huron, generally from Windsor up to the Georgian Bay area.

Matthew Francey , Sep 23, 1998; 03:33 p.m.

If you are limited to a 200km radius of Toronto, bring a macro lens. It might be the only way you will be able to keep civilization out of your landscape/nature pictures.

If you can push to 300km or so, the direction to go is north. My recomendation is to drive to Lindsay, then take Hwy 35 north to Dwight (a few kilometres west of Algonquin Park). [The 'normal' route of using Hwy 400 is faster, and recommended if you like driving fast, but photographically it is exceptionally dull. If you must use this route, save it for the return trip.]

Dick Ginkowski , Sep 23, 1998; 08:46 p.m.

Isn't there a wildlife safari park in Cambridge, Ontario?

Shun Cheung , Sep 23, 1998; 09:39 p.m.

Since we are talking about the Ontario Province, there is the Point Pelee National Park in Leamington, near Windsor and Detroit. It is about a four-hour, 400km drive from Toronto though. Point Pelee is a great place for bird watching and photography. I have been there once several years ago. Arthur Morris considers it one of the hot spots for bird photography and provides some details about it in his book.

Anil Mungal , Sep 24, 1998; 09:03 a.m.

Call 1-800-ONTARIO for fall foliage reports (and other tourist info). Some places are already at peak, some have barely started turning.

Bill O'Neill , Sep 25, 1998; 11:37 a.m.

Robert, I'm from the Muskoka area about two hours north of Toronto. Unfortunately we have had a very dry year and the foliage is just turning brown. Most trees are changing unevenly too. Not generally a pretty sight. Algonquin park, about three hours north of Toronto, is a little bit better but not as glorious as it can be. Not a great year in Ontario overall, although if you search around you will find some isolated, low lying spots that may pay off.

Rose-Marie B , Sep 26, 1998; 11:46 a.m.

Head to the Kingston area, about 200 km east of Toronto. There are 2 provincial parks, Frontenac and Charleston Lake, nearby. Frontenac has a canoe outfitter right at the entrance, you can rent a canoe to get to the interior lakes; the Canadian shield that we sit on provides lots of rock outcroppings along the shores, sets off the fall colours. Just grab your map and drive around the countryside, there's many scenic sites you can see from the road. If you're polite in asking, many people will allow you to cross their fields to get better shots.

The fall colours look as though they are going to be good, we've had enough rain this summer, and not too much obvious damage from last winter's ice storm. Various species of asters are just spectacular this year, roadside fields are gorgeous, there's still some migrating monarchs feeding from them.

You didn't say when you plan your trip, the colours in this area usually peak around the 10th of October, they're just starting now.


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