There is an abundance of evidence demonstrating the health and wellbeing benefits of spending time in nature. In Hamilton, we are fortunate to have access to many public outdoor spaces to get our daily dose of nature.
HPO’s Opening Night performance Radiant Ravel celebrates the natural beauty of our region with a program highlighting works inspired by nature, including Sibelius’ Luonnotar and our own Composer-in-Residence Abigail Richardson-Schulte’s work The Mermaid and the Fisherman.
Music and nature are a great combination and both known to positively impact our physical and mental wellbeing. We have rounded up a few of our favourite natural spaces in Hamilton, many accessible by HSR. Put on your walking shoes, grab your bike or pack a picnic lunch and soak up some nature right here in Hamilton.
Many Hamiltonians know Bayfront Park as the site of numerous community events including the popular Canada Day celebrations. But Bayfront Park is also a great way to get some nature in your day without leaving the city. Bayfront Park sprawls 40 acres in the west-end of the Hamilton Harbour and has a fantastic paved waterfront trail perfect for a walk or bike ride.
HPO’s Composer-in-Residence Abigail Richardson-Schulte likes to wander the boardwalk of Cootes Paradise to see swans and other birds making their home in the nature reserve managed by the Royal Botanical Gardens. It is a peaceful place to escape the city and immerse yourself in nature for a while – did you know Cootes is home to the highest concentration of plant species in Canada with more than 750 native species?
Abigail also recommends Christie Lake Conservation Area, where she likes to take her dogs to swim!
Confederation Beach Park
Confederation Beach Park is a great place to be active with a stellar view of the waterfront. Hop on the 12km paved waterfront trail for a walk or bike ride and take in the views. Or bring a picnic blanket and snacks and set up on the beach or grass for a relaxing afternoon outside.
Did you know that in 1953 the HPO performed in the Gage Park bandshell for the first time? It was the orchestra’s first appearance outside of a theatre or concert hall! We’ve been back to perform there many times since. Gage Park is another one of Hamilton’s gems. You may have been there for the Festival of Friends or any number of community events – but even when there’s nothing “going on” Gage Park is a popular spot. We recommend a walk through the tropical greenhouse – especially on a dreary day!
Chedoke Radial Trail
Developed from the former Brantford and Hamilton Electric Railway, the Chedoke Radial Trail extends for 2.7km beginning at Hillcrest Avenue off the end of Dundurn St. South. Follow the paved multi-use trail as it traverses through the Niagara Escarpment to Scenic Drive, with several waterfalls and other scenic points along the way. This is a great spot to pop in your headphones and immerse yourself in a meditative walk on a Sunday afternoon.