Run Like a Racehorse
Hike along Wilket Creek and contemplate the history of the landThis isn't a huge park, but it fits all the criteria for a great, dog-friendly green space to take your dog, especially if they like to run like a racehorse. There's parking, paved trails, unpaved trails, a forest, a creek, and grass-covered hills.
ParkingThis path connects many beautiful neighbourhoods including Misty Crescent, Tudor Gate, Post Road, Bridal Path, and Banbury Road. If you aren't walking distance to the park, there are three different parking areas: York Mills Arena, Banbury Community Centre, Canadian Film Centre.
Suggested 5 km route
The route I like to take is about 5 km in length and visits each of the three main attractions.
The paved path from the York Mills Arena takes you directly to the Banbury Community Centre. To make your walk more interesting, I suggest you also walk through the forest to Post Road and then around a copse of trees to run in the open, hilly meadow. And if you're still up for fun, visit the Canadian Film Centre before returning to the Arena.
BirdwatchingRobins, blue jays, woodpeckers, cardinals, and more. Not only is this park a paradise for dogs, but it also attracts many birds. The first time I visited, I stopped in my tracks at this point to listen to the music the birds were making.
It's like the birds were having a party! I was only able to capture this photo of a male cardinal.
The benches along the river are strategically placed for you to sit and enjoy the birds.
Forest pathBefore going up the hill to the Banbury Community Centre, take the forest trail on your right and walk beside the creek.
The path takes you along Wilket Creek that is shallow and left to nature.
Look for red oak trees.
The trail ends at Post Road. The stairs are very icy in the winter. The creek continues, but I couldn't find a path. If you want to continue along Wilket Creek, take Post Road and Banbury to Lawrence Ave, where you can walk the Wilket Creek Trail via Edward's Gardens.
Some of the neighbouring properties have staircases for direct access to the trail.
After leaving the forest, take the paved path on your right to Banbury Community Centre. The park behind the building is beautifully maintained with old trees. There are tennis courts and a playground as well.
On your way back, leave the paved path and stay next to the fence. Walk around the copse of trees, where you'll once again hear and see many birds.
On the other side of the trees is an enormous meadow. The day I was here, families were tobogganing down the hill. Our dogs liked to run in the open space.
After the meadow, take a detour to visit the Canadian Film Centre, which was initially the Windfield Farm.
It's in this forest where you might find hawks that are nesting.
Northern DancerThe thoroughbred racehorse called Northern Dancer, who won the Kentucky Derby in 1964, was born and raised on the Windfield Farm. The horse and 1500-acre horse breeding farm were owned by E.P. Taylor. The farm was named Windfields after E.P. Taylor's wife's family. After E.P.'s death, the farm was sold to developers.
The Canadian Film Centre (CFC) is now using many of the buildings that were part of the original farm. They've created a tribute to the history through film and by naming a building after the horse.
There is an apple orchard behind the Northern Dancer Pavilion that is beautiful when in bloom.
Head back down the hill and take the paved trail to the left to return to the Arena.
I intend to come back to this park many times to explore all the seasons and hope that I can take more photos of the birds. We hope to meet you there one day!
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