From Cambridge to Brantford, the Grand Valley Trail and the Trans Canada Trail both take the Cambridge to Paris and SC Johnson Rail Trails. However, after Brantford, the Grand Valley Trail continues along the Grand River, while the Trans Canada Trail splits into two. One part of the TCT heads to Simcoe and the shores of Lake Erie, while the other goes to Hamilton, where it meets the Waterfront Trail on Lake Ontario. Having finished the Grand Valley Trail, we had the rest of the TCT in the watershed in our sight.
On a beautiful early fall day, we decided it was the perfect day for a late summer trip to the beach, cycling from Brantford to Port Dover. The Trans Canada Trail normally takes the TH&B (Toronto Hamilton and Buffalo) Rail Trail out of Brantford to Mount Pleasant where it meets the LE&N (Lake Erie and Norfolk), which runs all the way to Port Dover. Because the TH&B was closed for reconstruction we rode the LE&N out of Brantford. (The TCT turns off at Simcoe, eventually meeting the Waterfront Trail at Port Burwell).
The entire trail is a well-maintained and well-signed stone dust rail trail. The trail is shaded by the trees that have grown on either side, with farmer’s fields and market gardens visible through the foliage. There are a few remaining tobacco fields, and many derelict tobacco tobacco drying sheds, a reminder of the days when tobacco was king in this region.
In Waterford, the trail crosses a magnificent old rail bridge over the Waterford Ponds.
Shortly thereafter we made a short detour to the Bonnieheath Estate Lavender Winery. The winery also produces cider and various lavender-infused products, from soap to lemonade. We cooled off as we sampled some cider and lavender lemonade and then hopped back on the bikes.
In Simcoe, the sight of the Indulge Ice Cream red double decker bus reminded us again that we were hot and tired. An ice cream was the perfect fuel for the last stretch of the ride into Port Dover..
As the sun set over the palm trees on the Port Dover beach, we enjoyed fried lake pickerel and a view of the boats returning to the harbour past the lighthouse.