Part 20: Tenth Line to Chinguacousy Road
Date: Wednesday 10 October 2018
Start: Tenth Line, Georgetown
End: Chinguacousy Road, Caledon
Distance covered: 13.9 km
Total distance covered: 256.0 km
243. It’s an almost windless early morning, and the fall foliage is hitting peak colour. As we enter the Terra Cotta Forest Conservation Area from Tenth Line in Halton Hills, this scene greets us. Enough said!
244. There’s a solitary swan on the lake, contemplating its reflection. “Swan Lake” may be the ultimate Romantic idyll, but like most fantasies, it doesn’t bear too much scrutiny. Mute swans are highly aggressive, often seen on their own because they have driven all competing waterfowl away, grunting and hissing not at all mutely as they did so. Bill Thompson III’s description of the species in his New Birder’s Guide to Birds of North America (2014) is memorable: “They are well-dressed bullies who do not play well with others.”
245. The sun-dappled woods in fall are at their most beautiful. But Bruce hikers don’t over-romanticize scenes such as this. When the Trail narrows, as it usually does in proximity to the face of the Escarpment, we have to step very warily indeed, eyes focused on our feet, because rocks, roots, and potholes are hidden by that lovely carpet of fallen leaves.
246. After overnight rain at this time of year, when the Trail goes through dense evergreens that block out much of the sunlight, the earth is covered with mushrooms.
247. We meet Orlando on a particularly steep downhill section of Trail in Terra Cotta Forest. A retiree of similar age to ourselves, he went astray up the Trail, turned back, and was having difficulty getting his bike down the hill. We help him manoeuvre his bike to safety and direct him back in the direction of his Brampton home. Then we too find ourselves confused about which way to go along Heritage Road, as a recent reroute isn’t indicated on either the paper map or the app. When in doubt, follow the blazes!
248. We feel we should have left civilization behind long ago, but that’s far from the case. We’re now due northwest of Mississauga, whose downtown skyline is clearly visible on the horizon.
249. A soybean crop awaits harvesting. Soybeans have been Ontario’s largest crop for some years now, with more than 1.2 million hectares (3 million acres) seeded annually.
250. This establishment catches our eye as we head northeast along Boston Mills Road in Caledon. It’s been quite a while since we have come across a watering hole so close to the Trail, and on this hot morning hiking is thirsty work …
251 … so we stop for some homemade dry-hopped cider and a slice of pizza. This place produces several craft ciders, both sweet and hard, including applelager, pear cider, and apple cranberry spritzer. It’s also a bakery, bistro, and farm shop for local produce. A very nice location for a thirty-minute lunch break!
252. In a nearby field, the harvesting of Ontario’s second largest crop, grain corn, is taking place. A corn harvester blows the crop into a grain cart towed by a tractor.
253. As we step into the Cheltenham Badlands from Creditview Road, another milestone! We are leaving the Toronto Club Section and entering Caledon Hills, the fourth of the nine Club Sections of the Bruce Trail as it runs northwards. At this point we’ve hiked a total of 252.4 km and completed 28% of the Trail. Onward!
254. The Cheltenham Badlands is an unearthly seven-hectare landscape of hummocks and gullies. In 2015 it was closed to the public, as uncontrolled access was damaging the terrain. This is a little ironic, as the formation is not strictly “natural” in the first place: poor farming practices in the early 20th century exposed the Queenston shale of an ancient dried-up river bed. The red colour comes from iron oxide deposits, and the green streaks are caused by the percolation of acidic rainwater. The Badlands reopened less than three weeks ago with a new parking lot, trail layout, and boardwalk. The Bruce Trail itself as it passes through the site doesn’t allow a good view of the Badlands: this photo was taken from a new viewing platform on Olde Base Line Road, a hundred metres off Trail.
255. Our terminus today is at the end of Chinguacousy Road north of Olde Base Line Road. The road system in this part of southern Ontario is at once a simple grid pattern and a complicated maze. Historically, east-west roads were laid in rough parallel to the north shore of Lake Ontario (a shoreline that inconveniently curves). A baseline road was the first east-west road to be surveyed in any particular county or township. Equally-spaced Side Roads run parallel to and northwards from the baseline. These Side Roads are often numbered and referred to as Concessions, that is, roads conceded by the Crown to successful applicants wishing to settle and farm on lots adjoining the road. North-south roads (which around here actually run northwest-southeast because of the orientation of the Lakeshore) are often (and confusingly) called Lines and they too are numbered (e.g., Tenth Line), though sometimes important Lines are named (e.g., Dublin Line), while very important ones get individual names (e.g., Winston Churchill Boulevard). It seems that Hurontario Street, a major north-south road, came to serve as the baseline for the whole of Caledon, replacing Olde Base Line Road, the original township east-west baseline.
256. The view south from the end of Chinguacousy Road. The Native-sounding name, which also refers to a former township, has given rise to conflicting accounts of its origin. Some authorities state that “Chinguacousy” is a corruption of Shinguacöuse (a.k.a. Little Pine, ca. 1773-1854), an Ojibwe warrior and medicine man who fought bravely on the British side at Fort Mackinac in the War of 1812. But Alan Rayburn, author of Place Names of Ontario (1997), writes that Chinguacousy township in the historic county of Peel “was named in 1819 by Lt.-Gov. Sir Peregrine Maitland after the Mississauga [First Nation] designation for the Credit River …. That it resembles the name of Ottawa chief Shinguacose … appears to be coincidental.” Locally, the name is usually pronounced “CHING-a-KOO-see.”