With summer in full swing, Burlington’s waterfront has come alive. For some, it’s the perfect peaceful retreat during a much needed lunch break. For others, it’s the place to be during one of the many lively weekend festivals.
Burlington’s waterfront is also a favourite destination for those of us that love to maintain an active lifestyle outside of the confines of the gym. On any given day, the waterfront trails are utilized by countless dog walkers, cyclists and rollerbladers. Burlington Beach Rentals, located at 1094 Lakeshore Road, offers a unique “staycation” experience so close to home. Beachgoers can rent kayaks, stand up paddle boards, or just relax in the colourful cabanas complete with wifi. They also offer yoga classes on the beach and photography workshops for those looking to broaden their creative horizons.
It’s hard to imagine that Burlington’s waterfront could get any better, but according to a recent report from Inside Halton, big changes are on the horizon. City Council recognizes that we have something special here, and they are planning on going above and beyond to develop it into a world class attraction.
The plan is an ambitious one, and council has determined that it will take several decades to complete. Currently Spencer Smith Park spans approximately one and half kilometers across the shore in downtown Burlington. The development plans, created by an internationally recognized planning team, would expand the park to include the Burlington beach and stretch as far west as the Hamilton border. The first phase is expected to take about ten years to complete and cost roughly $31 million.
So what will Burlington’s waterfront look like in the future? The large, unattractive hydro towers that span the beach’s sandy shore will be a thing of the past. Lakeshore road will be reconfigured to improve pedestrian access between Spencer Smith Park and Burlington Beach. There will be several gas “fire circles” – a nod to Burlington’s Aboriginal heritage. A First Nations Interpretation Centre will be created directly across from the Joseph Brant Museum. The trail that spans the beach will be improved with a bicycle repair station, bottle fill depots and a non-motorized boat launch.
Additional space will be designated for summer festivals, including an artisan marketplace and a patio built over the water. The park will end at the Skyway Bridge, but the network of trials will continue along Hamilton’s waterfront.
Over on the east side of the city, there is a similar plan underway. Although it is smaller in scale, it’s an equally welcome addition from those who enjoy the waterfront. Burloak Waterfront Park is in the midst of an expansion that encompasses a full kilometer of uninterrupted public lake access. In addition to the park’s existing features, future plans include an elevated lookout platform, splash pad, and a demonstration garden.
If the hot weather has brought you down to Burlington’s waterfront, you should be aware that the Halton Region tests the water for e.coli every week. You can check out the results for your local beach here to determine if it’s safe to swim.