After 10 years living in Burlington, Ontario, we finally discovered its amazing beach and beach life on the sparkling waters of Lake Ontario, a mere 15 minute drive from our home. How could we have missed this gem for so long?
Plus, we have met and learned from so many other like-minded walkers. Today, at one end of the 1.5 km beach on Burlington Bay, is the second day of a weekend 16 foot Hobie Cat regatta boasting 40 entries. Chatting with enthusiastic captains as they unfurl colourful sails and spinnakers of their catamarans, we hear about the skill required for flying across the top of the water.
And so it is. Early in the morning when we walk in the sand, the city’s mechanical Surf Raker slides and cleans across the length of the beach. The operator, recognizing us now as regulars, salutes with a nod of his head.
There is a boat rental office midway along the beach where a staycation sign is pounded into the sand. Long distance swimmers practice their lengths farther out by the buoys. A regular who mans a metal detector sweeps the beach hoping to find loose change, rings, or who knows? He says it’s like looking for buried treasure.
A professional photographer sets up her equipment with backdrops and props for families who want a candid beach keepsake of happy memories.
Much of the activity we see is before 9 a.m. At dawn the lake is like a mirror, the beach is serene and empty, beautiful for walking barefoot. The only companions are gulls huddled together on the beach, cormorants flying overhead, and a few regulars like us who each respect and relish the sound of silence. Occasionally a freighter approaches the Burlington Canal Lift Bridge at the western end of the beach. We watch the bridge lift vertically to its maximum 36.5 metres as the lake vessel cruises through to Hamilton Bay, her captain thanking officials with a short horn blast.
Sometimes you can even see the sun and moon at the same time.
And we've learned that sometimes you don’t have to travel far to walk barefoot in the sand.
Maybe the beach is one of the reasons MoneySense magazine listed Burlington---again---as the third best city in Canada in which to live.