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30 Things for Sporty Types

SUMMER

Anglers, golfers, water babies, cyclists and hikers—now is the time to make the most of the city by the lake.

1. TOUR JAPANESE GARDEN Kariya Park (Kariya Drive, off Burnhamthorpe Road) was created to honour Mississauga’s sister-city, Kariya, Japan. The site is a traditional Japanese garden, featuring elegant statuary, a pavilion and several unique garden spaces. A colony of Kariya’s official flower, the lavender Iris laevigata, thrives here as do gingko and sweetgum trees.

2. SEE ROYAL BLOOMS The Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Garden (300 City Centre Dr.) is a walled English garden that commemorates Her Royal Highness’s lengthy reign. Five golden cedars symbolize the Queen’s five decades. You may notice similarities between the garden and the Civic Centre—the garden’s layout is modelled after the iconic building’s architecture. The centre lawn stands in for the tower, the circular seating represents the council, and the rose garden symbolizes the facade.

3. HIT THE LINKS Among the area’s many courses, Lionhead Golf and Country Club offers two challenging 18-hole championship courses, Legends and Masters. Lionhead Legends is one of this country’s most difficult courses.

4. GOLF FOR GOLD Another place to hit the links, BraeBen Golf Course is an 18-hole championship gold course and a nine-hole par-3 academy course. BraeBen also runs a junior golf academy and has a sizeable on-site restaurant.

5. GO THE CONSERVATION ROUTE Riverwood (entrance at Burnhamthorpe Road West and The Credit Woodlands) is a 150-acre public park situated on the east bank of the Credit River, and a thriving all-season conservation area. More than 350 species of native plants and 46 species of birds and animals, including heron and white-tailed deer, find sanctuary in the preserved natural habitat.

6. PARK IT HERE Lakefront Promenade Park (800 Lakefront Promenade, off Lakeshore Road East, east of Cawthra Road) hugs the shore of Lake Ontario and boasts more than 100 acres of public parkland for cycling, walking and hanging out at the beach. Kids go wild for the splash pad in summer. Here, they’ll find Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship: a kids’ play apparatus that’s shaped like a 60-foot boat.

7. VISIT THE BEACH At Jack Darling Park, another popular waterfront destination, find beaches and many opportunities for water sports, including canoeing and windsurfing. Kids can hit the splash pad to cool off.

8. JUMP INTO SWIMMING Nature-seekers and families looking for a day of fun in the sun make the journey to Bronte Creek Provincial Park (1219 Burloak Dr., Oakville, 905-827-6911). Trails are easy to navigate and complete, ranging from a half-kilometre hike amid Burkholder Woods’ beech and maple trees, to a 2.7-km journey through a dense hemlock and pine forest that winds up at a picturesque ravine lookout. Other features: kids (and parents) can cool off at the 1.8-acre swimming pool and have a picnic on the surrounding grass.

9. COUNT THE BUTTERFLIES Humber Bay Butterfly Habitat (in Humber Bay Park East, Lake Shore Boulevard West and Park Lawn Road, Etobicoke) is devoted to the preservation of native butterfly species. Three spaces cater to six species: the monarch, red admiral, mourning cloak, viceroy, American painted lady and eastern tiger swallowtail. Not unlike humans, butterflies prefer calm, warm days. The best times to spot some are in the early morning and at dusk.

HEAD TO THE RACES Woodbine Racetrack is one of Canada’s premier venues for horse racing. On August 5, Woodbine hosts one of the jewels in Canada’s Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing, the Breeders’ Stakes. Other notable events are the Woodbine Mile on September 16 and Pattison Canadian International on October 21.

FALL

When the air is fresh and the changing leaves brighten the trees, the city will impress you with its natural charms.

1. GET INTO THE SWING Derrydale Golf Club is a nine-hole executive golf course with an on-site restaurant. The 18-hole Lakeview Golf Course has a long history: it was established in 1896 and has hosted two Canadian Opens.

2. HIKE, BIKE OR PADDLE At more than 220 acres, Erindale Park (1695 Dundas St. W.) is the largest public park here. This all-season, all-recreation public space offers myriad opportunities for fresh air activities. Find trails through dense forest, frequently enjoyed by joggers, hikers and cyclists. Along the river, paddlers drag their kayaks out to work on their turns and balance.

3. HIT THE TRAIL The Culham Trail is an 18-km trek that takes you along the riverbank from Erindale Park (1695 Dundas St. W.) up the Credit River Valley to the borders of the city of Brampton.

4. WALK THE WETLANDS Rattray Marsh Conservation Area (50 Bexhill Rd., within walking distance of Jack Darling Park) is a beloved site on the shores of Lake Ontario. The protected wetlands, home to a variety of wildlife and plants, feature an extensive boardwalk with viewing platforms. Birdwatchers come for the chance to see and hear a range of species, from the wood warbler to tree swallow, and photographers enjoy the picturesque nature scenes.

5. STROLL THE WATERFRONT Enjoy the best of the lakeshore by making your way along a section of the Waterfront Trail (accessible from Lakefront Promenade Park). More than 20 km long, the route follows the shore of Lake Ontario from Etobicoke Creek all they way to the Oakville border. Pick up a Mississauga Trails map at the Mississauga Civic Centre (300 City Centre Dr.).

6. FISH FOR 45 SPECIES Renowned for its fishing, the Credit River is home to more than 45 species, including rainbow and brown trout, chinook, coho and Atlantic salmon. From around late August to mid-May, Steelhead overrun the river.

7. ANGLE FOR MORE Eager anglers also head for J.C. Saddington Park (53 Lake St.) in Port Credit, Credit Village Marina and the boardwalk along the Douglas Kennedy Headland at Lakefront Promenade Park (off Lakeshore Road East, east of Cawthra Road).

8. BOARD IT Kids get their kicks at a number of skate parks in the city. The one at Iceland Mississauga has rails, ledges, stairs, gaps and all the street skateboarding trimmings. The skate park is not supervised, so helmets and proper padding—if not adult supervision—are recommended; open daily from sunrise to 11 p.m.

9. KEEP SKATING A few other skate parks to check out: Clarkson Community Centre (2475 Truscott Dr.), Churchill Meadows (3715 Thomas St.), Huron Park (830 Paisley Blvd. W.), Malton Arena (3430 Derry Rd. E.) and Port Credit Memorial Park (22 Stavebank Rd. S.).

10. HIKE THE HUMMOCKS It would almost seem fitting to find a UFO circling over the Cheltenham Badlands (drive north on Mississauga Road to Olde Base Line Road and travel eastbound). Only an hour from downtown Mississauga, this 50-acre geological phenomenon could be a set straight out of Star Trek. Gullies and hummocks of red Queenston shale and striking bands of green iron oxide make this a unique natural site.

WINTER

Who needs the gym to keep in shape when there’s skating, skiing and tobogganing? And when it’s really cold, there’s plenty of indoor action to keep the adrenaline pumping.

1. HIT THE ICE Iceland Mississauga is a high-tech skating mecca featuring a 1,200-seat arena and Olympic-size ice surface with public hours; call for schedule.

2. GLIDE OUT Strap on your skates at these public skating rinks: Civic Centre outdoor rink (300 City Centre Dr., 905-896-5000), Burnhamthorpe Community Centre (1500 Gulleden Dr., 905-615-4630) and Woodhurst Heights Park (3499 Ash Row Cres., 905-615-4770). All three are open daily and have free-skate times; call for schedules.

3. GO DOWNHILL Kick off those winter boots, reach for your warmest parka and strap on a pair of skis. Centennial Park Snow Centre (56 Centennial Park Rd., Etobicoke, 416-394-8754) offers downhill skiing day and night, as well as snowboarding. Rentals are available on site.

4. TAKE A SNOW DAY Hockey may be our national pastime, but tobogganing must come a close second. When cabin fever strikes, locals head to the hills at Erindale Park (1695 Dundas St. W.).

5. FLY HIGH Slide into the pilot’s seat of a high-performance F/A-18 Hornet—one of the fastest jet fighters in the world—at Air Combat Zone for a simulated battle.

6. PUTT AROUND Practice your swing in the off-season: Nevada Bob’s Golf Dome (5750 Datsun Rd., 905-564-4800) is a heated facility scheduled to open late October 2007.

7. SIMULATE SOME FUN Score big at Playdium, a video gamer’s paradise with more than 200 interactive games and simulators, plus Canada’s longest go-kart track and an 18-hole miniature golf course.

8. BLADE OR ROLL Strap on the in-line skates—or for some old-fashioned fun, roller skates—at Scooter’s Roller Palace (2105 Royal Windsor Dr., 905-823-4001).

9. MAKE A STRIKE Keep on rolling with a game of 10-pin bowling at Classic Bowl, which boasts 60 lanes of fun.

10. PLAY TAG WITH LASERS Laser Quest puts the combat on solid ground. “Questers” score points by tagging their opponents with a sensor.

—Where Staff

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