Hike #50: Proctor Park Conservation Area

Distance hiked: 2.5km
Location: Proctor Park Conservation Area, Ontario
Date: November 8, 2020

Proctor Park Conservation Area was named after the Proctor family who resided in the area. In 1853, Isaac Chamberlain Proctor built a house, which was later expanded by his son John, which became known as the “mansion on the hill” or Proctor House. Proctor House was slated for demolition in 1972 but was saved when local citizens formed a campaign to preserve it. The house was then turned into a museum and was opened to the public for tours during July and August. The conservation area also features two hiking trails through cedar lowlands, and up through a hardwood forest.

We spent the weekend up at the cabin and on the drive back to Toronto we stopped at Proctor Park Conservation Area to stretch our legs and cross another hike off our list. We figured we might as well since the weather was nice and the sun was shining. From the parking lot, it’s a short walk to the Proctor House. While the museum was closed for tours, there was a sign that provided more information about the history of the house and John. E Proctor.

John E. Proctor was a successful entrepreneur whose businesses included the mills, banking, a general store and the shipping of goods across the Great Lakes. The window was built into the roof of the house to allow John to watch the ships come and go from his 200-foot wharf south of Brighton on Presqu’ile Bay. John was also a leader in the community of Brighton and played an instrumental role in the growth of the area.

Behind the house lies the Brighton Barn Theatre. The theatre puts on two major productions each year and usually offers a summer and Christmas show as well. Unfortunately there were no shows scheduled for this year due to the pandemic.

From the theatre we followed the signs to the trailhead.

There are two trails in the conservation area that connect to form a larger loop. We first hiked clockwise along the Cedar Loop, which passes through cedar lowlands. The path is wide and well signed with green markers.

The path then connects with the Hardwood Hill Trail to form a larger loop. This portion of the trail is also signed with green markers. The trail continues to weave through the forest and up a series of ridges. All the leaves have fallen from the trees, which provided a much better view of the surrounding area from above.

What goes up, must come down. From the ridge we followed the path back down to the cedar lowlands to the Cedar Loop Trail.

From here it’s a relatively short walk back to the parking lot. We wrapped up our hike shortly after 2p.m and continued our drive back to Toronto.

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My progress on the 52 Hike Challenge can be found here

23 thoughts on “Hike #50: Proctor Park Conservation Area

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      It’s always nice to integrate a bit of Ontario’s history in with a hike. It’s like I get to exercise my legs and my brain. Ha. Oh wow, 35cm of snow is no joke. Most of our snow has melted and it looks like there isn’t much on the forecast for next week. Stay warm.

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  1. Lookoom says:

    The history of this house is interesting as well as its almost demolition. This corresponds to a change in attitudes in recent years where the attachment to the beautiful things of the past has grown stronger in Ontario, even in Toronto. I particularly like the windows. And what a beautiful weather once again for an early November.

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    • WanderingCanadians says:

      For sure. It’s great to see communities come together and play an active role in preserving their historic buildings and landmarks. The same can be said with certain parks and green spaces too. It’s too bad that we didn’t visit during the summer as it would have been neat to take a tour through the house. And yes, we were spoiled with such beautiful weather this fall.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ab says:

    What a beautiful fall day and hike. Love the nice old house too. We enjoyed our short visit to Brighton / Presquile area last Fall too. Seems like a lifetime ago.

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    • WanderingCanadians says:

      It would have been nice to visit in the summer when they offer tours of the Proctor House, but I’m sure it would have been much more crowded then. We didn’t have a chance to go to Presqu’ile last year, but it’s on the list for this one! And yes, the fall seems like ages ago. Ford hinted that he’ll be announcing more extreme measures early next week, I really hope he doesn’t close provincial parks or conservation areas.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ab says:

        Presquile is just lovely! 🙂 Be careful of ticks and poison ivy. The park popped up in one of the groups I followed last night and those were the precautions I saw.

        I think Ford is going to announce a daily curfew. Hope he keeps the parks open!!!

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      • WanderingCanadians says:

        I went camping at Presqu’ile a few years ago and really enjoyed it. The beach isn’t as big as Sandbanks, but it was a lot less busy. It’s nice that it’s open all-year round, so I should aim to visit in the off-season to avoid the poison ivy and ticks (and mosquitoes). A curfew seems likely considering that’s what Quebec has implemented. Fingers crossed the parks stay open. We’re going to MacGregor Point next weekend to try winter camping for the first time.

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    • WanderingCanadians says:

      For sure. We had such beautiful weather this fall and I’m glad we took advantage of it to finish off our 52 Hike Challenge. It’s always neat to learn more about the history of an area that we’re hiking in, whether it’s about geology or how the land was once used in the past. I feel much more connected to Ontario because of it.

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  3. ourcrossings says:

    The colour of the sky is simply stunning! I am glad to hear local residents formed a campaign to preserve the house, it’s such a beautiful building. I admire your dedication to 52 Hike Challenge; keep it up 🙂 Aiva

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    • WanderingCanadians says:

      It’s always great to hear when people in the community peacefully come together and collectively voice their opinion. It’s a good example that we can influence change and help shape where we live. We finished the 52 Hike Challenge back in November, the real challenge over the past couple of months has just been writing about the remaining hikes!! Almost there though!!

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