Words by Jim Kenzie
Mountains and oceans are pretty good markers for entertaining roads to drive on. Southern Ontario doesn’t have any of either—Hamilton Mountain doesn’t really count. However, here are two twisty routes that can put a car’s suspension to the test, and provide some spectacular scenery for you to enjoy.
Forks of the Credit to Norval, the pretty way
Hurontario Street north out of Brampton gets a bit confusing at the new Highway 410 interchange. Just follow the signs north for Orangeville, and about 14 km north of 410 make a left onto Forks of the Credit Road.
There are surprises everywhere! When the signs say “limited visibility,” they aren’t kidding. Be extra-vigilant. The signs also warn you to share the road with hikers, equestrians, cyclists and turtles!
If you prefer two wheels (or no wheels), turn right on McLaren Road to the Forks of the Credit Provincial Park. It’ll cost you a toonie or two to park so you can bike or hike right down to the river.
As you negotiate the twists and turns on this lovely road, contemplate the turn in the road of your life which kept you from living here. It isn’t too late—there’s one lovely house for sale, right along the river.
You’ll pass under a tall railroad trestle, then switchback up the hill into the pretty little town of Belfountain. Ice cream parlours seem to be the big deal here. Follow Old Main Street south out of town; if you’ve ever wondered where Mississauga Road starts, now you know.
The second major intersection is Olde Base Line Road. Turn left, and in a couple klicks on the right (past Creditview Road) you’ll come across the Cheltenham Badlands, a bizarre result of poor agriculture and massive erosion that looks like a cross between Drumheller Alberta and Mars. There’s no signage to speak of and parking for just a few cars, but don’t miss it.
Head back west a few hundred metres, turn left onto Creditview Road and cross over the Credit River again into Cheltenham. Turn right on King Road, and follow it into Terra Cotta, famous for its riverside inn. The road bends south to become Winston Churchill Boulevard. Follow it all the way to Highway 7 in the village of Norval.
Turn left (east), and half-way up the hill watch for a little driveway on your right—that’s Crawford’s Bakery, with the best coconut cream pie you’ll ever taste. Continue east back to Mississauga Road or Hurontario and you’re home!
Campbellville to Ancaster via Snake Road
Campbellville is the host of many crafts and antique stores on Guelph Line. It sits west of Milton, just south of the 401.
Going south on Guelph Line, across the railroad tracks and up the hill—that’s the Niagara Escarpment which we’ll be traversing several times on this route.
About one klick after the top of the hill, take a left onto Limestone Road—this corner isn’t easy to see. Follow it until it ends, then turn right onto Appleby Line.
Once more up the hill, then past the Rattlesnake Conservation Area on your right. Be careful here—the road plunges back down the Escarpment into a very tight series of switchbacks. This road used to host the Rattlesnake Hillclimb, a motorsport event that continued into the mid-1960s. Cars would run the opposite way up the hill; the quickest time won. Needless to say, the road was closed to the public for these races. Also needless to say, the owners of homes along this lovely bit of asphalt won’t let their road be closed for this sort of thing again.
Turn right onto Derry Road, continue past Guelph Line to Twiss Road, and turn left. This road bends to the right into Kilbride.
You’re looking for Cedar Springs Road, but the road sign is hidden by the foliage! Look for the big KitKat sign on the WILL-O Acres Kilbride Country Store on the southwest corner; turn left. Follow this delightful route past the privately owned Cedar Springs Community—some of the homes are vacation properties; some are year-round residences.
You’ll pass a couple of golf courses on either side, then start down the hill again. A magnificent view of Lake Ontario is right in front of you—that’s Grimsby on the other side. Take a right onto Dundas Street, and continue into Waterdown. The second major intersection is Main Street—turn left. Follow Main out of town; it swings west and tee-lefts onto Snake Road. As the name suggests, this is a lovely, twisty bit of blacktop.
Some motorsport history here too—Bill Adam, one of Canada’s foremost race drivers in the 1970s and ’80s, grew up in this neighbourhood, and learned to drive (well, to drive fast) on this road. Do not attempt this today—it wasn’t built-up then like it is now.
Snake Road actually turns left under the 403, but bear right to stay on Hillsdale Avenue.
Tee right onto Plains Road West, which runs parallel to Highway 6 on your left. Then turn left onto York Road crossing Highway 6, then take the next right onto Old Guelph Road. It curves left to become Patterson Road.
You won’t believe there’s a major industrial city (Hamilton) just a few hundred metres to your left.
Tee left onto Valley Road, then right onto York Road, which evolves into Olympic Drive.
At the end of this road, turn left onto Cootes Drive, and on up the hill—again!—with McMaster University on your left. Take a right onto Main Street West, and shortly thereafter, make a left to stay on Main. It bends slightly right to become Wilson Avenue. The second-next right is Lower Lions Club Road—the entrance is a bit hard to see. Bear left onto Old Dundas Road—there are several dead-end roads in this area that are fun to explore.
The Ancaster Mill is ahead on your left, and a good place to stop for a bite or a spot of tea.
When you’re refreshed, continue on Old Dundas, across Wilson onto Rosseaux, which becomes Mohawk and leads you to the 403 interchange. Follow it east, and you’re homeward-bound.