Visiting Lookout Point Park, Pickering, Ontario: also known as Downland Park

Provincial flag of Ontario
Provincial flag of Ontario | Source
Lookout Point Park, Pickering, Ontario
Lookout Point Park, Pickering, Ontario | Source
Lookout Point Park, Pickering, Ontario
Lookout Point Park, Pickering, Ontario | Source
Lookout Point Park signage detail, Pickering, Ontario
Lookout Point Park signage detail, Pickering, Ontario | Source

What's in a name?

This Park, named Lookout Point Park, is also known as Downland Park.

In their way, both of these names are very appropriate and both speak volumes about some of the features of this small Park.

The name 'Lookout Point'

In the first place, Lookout Point as a name may seem to relate more to a sea- or lakeside feature rather than to an neighbourhood which does not seem to be visibly near any large expanse of water. Landscaped on an incline, this may seem to be true at the foot of the main approach roads to the Park: Downland Crescent and Stonebridge Lane. But when the walker climbs to the top of the small hill which marks the culminating point of the Park, from the top there are fine views of Lake Ontario from the summit.

Wait a minute, though, the discerning visitor familiar with Ontario's City of Pickering might say; didn't you say this was Pickering, with its Frenchman's Bay, Waterfront Trail and Barrier Beach? Wouldn't these features be indicative of a rather flat topography? Well, yes and no. The immediate area around Frenchman's Bay is indeed very flat but Pickering being a sizeable place (indeed, with some rather steep inclines at the nearby Rouge Park, which it shares with Toronto), the area in proximity to Lookout Point is actually elevated. Hence the name 'Lookout Point',

(Additionally, the alternative spelling 'Look Out Point Park' is also sometimes seen in local publications.)

The name 'Downland'

The Park is also known sometimes as Downland Park. The immediate reason is the proximity of Downland Crescent (1). But the name Downland can also refer back to undulating hill country across several of the southern counties of England, to where many visitors, accustomed to residing in the flat Thames basin of the Greater London area, will often repair for fine, elevated views and fresh air. (This large area is sometimes known also simply as The Downs, further divided into the North Downs and South Downs.)

Interestingly, while the City of Pickering's signage at the Park shows the 'Lookout Point Park' exclusively, some maps of the locality actually give the name 'Downland Park', to the exclusion of the other name. (So, intrepid travellers using your trusty maps: be warned!)

Some other features

Large boulders have been placed at the landscaped area with shrubs, located near the corner of Downland Crescent and Stonebridge Lane. These boulders — one in particular — show some considerable signs of weathering.

For the unsuspecting winter walker, the Park's elevation and incline leaves it relatively exposed. When I have walked there in snowy conditions, I have found progress to be made slow by the extent of ground ice.

The Park may also be accessed via Sandcastle Court; however, this is pedestrian access only, via steps which some visitors may find to be steep.

Facilities at the Park include a softball diamond and a children's play area.

Note

(1) To be precise, it begs the question of whether the hill feature provoked the naming of the road Downland Crescent, or whether the road provided a toponymic reference for this name by which the Park is known. I confess I have not researched this matter, but it may be noted that various of the local road names in the West Shore area of Pickering originate from place-names in England.

Also worth seeing

In Pickering itself, sights of interest to visitors include the Erskine Church and Pioneer Memorial Cairn, the expansive Rouge Park, which Pickering shares with Toronto, the Pickering section of the Waterfront Trail along the Lake Ontario shore, and the Barrier Beach, near Frenchman's Bay and the Nautical Village.

Ajax (distance: 9.9 kilometres); Post Hill House is a rare example of Rural Gothic Revival style of architecture.

...

How to get there: Air Canada, flies to Toronto Pearson Airport, with wide North American and other connections, from where car rental is available. (Distance from Toronto Pearson Airport to Pickering: approx. 47.8 kilometres). GO Train operates a service between Union Station, Toronto and Pickering . Highway 401 gives straightforward access to Pickering. Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information. You are advised to refer to appropriate consular sources for any special border crossing arrangements which may apply to citizens of certain nationalities.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.

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