Mississauga is a city, indeed … a big city, and yet quite close by are some easily accessible countryside drives which can include the opportunities for walks, picnics or just viewing the natural and cultural heritage.
One such place is at the Forks of the Credit … often visited … and yet how many people stop to view the actual Forks or venture off the Forks of the Credit Road.
A few travel suggestions can help provide the needed tools for a perfect afternoon outing. The driving instructions given below are an example of what you can expect from SideRoad GuideBooks written by Peter DeMille and David Rawcliffe.
But first … back to the Forks … the Credit River flows into Lake Ontario at Port Credit but farther north there are two branches of the River, the East branch and the Main (or West) branch. Where they join to form the one Credit River is called the Forks of the Credit.
Close to these actual Forks is the hairpin bend, so beloved by those wishing a little more to driving than provided by concession roads. But … do you realize that you are driving up the Niagara Escarpment, the same feature which produces the Niagara Falls? It stretches 700 km from Niagara to Tobermory and is the most distinctive natural feature in Southern Ontario. The cliffs you see are hard sedimentary rock (often limestone or a variant) … but more about rocks later.
On this drive there are little hamlets, the best known is Belfountain, and also the old churches which gave comfort and community to the early European settlers. The dream of a better life often had a hard and lonely side to it … but this was also an area of innovation. In the Forks of the Credit Provincial Park, you will see the ruins of a hydro-electricity plant which provided local electricity before most of Ontario had such a resource. The locale is also connected to the development of: the spinning tub washing machine; the cushion-back rubber stamp and even Canada Dry Ginger Ale. As you look at the forested sides of the valley at the Forks of the Credit it is hard to imagine an industrial landscape. Yet, the stone used to construct the Ontario Legislature Buildings on University Avenue was quarried here.
The early settlers came to this land to farm the fertile soil. While we keep building our cities on our small and precious area of Grade 1 & 2 farmland, you can still visit Farm Shops to buy local produce. However arable farming in places was not the best use of the land and the soils were washed away leaving a second type of rock exposed to the elements. This is the soft red clayey shale that is exposed at the Badlands.
The first World War (1914 – 1918) is often taken as a defining moment in Canada’s 150-year history. After the Great War, immigration produced few farmers and more city-dwellers. Canada’s sense of identity developed after the Battle of Vimy Ridge (1917) and Canadian acts, including Billy Bishop, took to the air. The route below will take you by the Great War Flying Museum and while all the planes are modern versions of the bi- and tri-planes, they still are quite the sight to see. We hope that you will enjoy this countryside exploration.
A short tour around the Forks of the Credit, Caledon going through Belfountain, Cataract and Inglewood
Begin at the north end of Hwy 410 where it merges with Hwy 10
You are north of Brampton
Drive north on Hwy 10 for 1.6 km
1 Turn left (west) onto Old School Road
2 Turn right (north) onto McLaughlin Rd; pass on right ‘Great War Flying Museum; www.greatwarflyingmuseum.com; cross King St; cross Boston Mills Rd
3 Turn left (west) onto Olde Base Line; cross Chinguacousy Rd; pass on left ‘the Badlands’ (worth a stop); cross Creditview Rd
4 Turn right (north) onto Mississauga Rd; pass on left ‘Melville White Church’ (historic); cross The Grange Side Rd; enter hamlet of Belfountain; pass on left Bush St (at centre of hamlet); our route curves to the right (east); pass on right ice cream parlour
pass on right entrance to Belfountain Conservation Area; our route is now Forks of the Credit Rd; pass on right Scott Dr
5 pass on left Mississauga Rd; our route drops down to a hairpin bend (caution)
pass under railway bridge; pass on left Dominion St (which crosses a bridge over the Credit River);
Help Hint – if you park by the roadside and walk to stand on the bridge,
you will see the joining of the two branches of the Credit River
which gives the place its name.
6 Turn left (north) onto McLaren Rd; pass on left Puckering Lane; pass on left entrance to Forks of the Credit Provincial Park; Help-hint – good hiking and historical ruins in the Park
7 Turn left (west) onto RR 124 (Charleston SR); pass on left a parking spot before crossing the Credit River.
8 Turn left (south) onto Main St ; Help Hint – gas station and restaurant on corner; our route curves right … at the Cataract Inn in hamlet of Cataract; our route is now Cataract Rd; winding road; cross Elora-Cataract Trailway (former railway, now a multi-use trail)
Help Hint – no parking at this point, use the Provincial Park for access
9 Turn left (south) onto Mississauga Rd; winding road by ski hills
10 Turn left (east) onto Forks of the Credit Rd.
Help Hint – 10 to 11 is a repeat of the route from 5 to 6
11 pass on left McLaren Rd.
12 Turn right (south) onto McLaughlin Rd; cross The Grange SR; pass through hamlet of Inglewood
Help Hint – from Inglewood, there is a pleasant walk (east) along the Caledon Trailway to Hwy 10 and Ken Whillans CA
13 Turn left (east) onto Olde Base Line; cross Hwy 10; cross Kennedy Rd
14 Turn right (south) onto Heart Lake Rd; cross Boston Mills Rd; cross King St; pass on right Downey’s Farm Market (children friendly); www.downeysfarm.com
15 Turn right (west) onto Old School Rd; cross Kennedy Rd; arrive at Hwy 10 and the end of the tour
16 Turn left (south) to return to Toronto by Hwy 410
Check out www.sideroadguidebooks.com for information.