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.
My progress on the 52 Hike Challenge can be found here