Hey Everyone, I’m Alex! I am a PhD student, and it seems like I have been in university
for many years. As a result, I don’t have much money to dedicate towards travel. I
consider myself an amateur photographer, often scrolling through Instagram feeds of
travelers and adventurers in foreign and unique places. Their adventures to locations
throughout the world, where they observe natural wonders, often make me feel green
with envy. . That is until I discovered How to Find Natural Beauty Near Home.
Toronto is a city with a population of 5.5 million people, falling right behind Mexico
City, New York City and Los Angeles for the title of largest city in North America. You
may be familiar with some current Toronto landmarks like the CN Tower or Drake.
Toronto is a heavily urban city with a towering downtown core, unique neighborhoods
and sprawling suburbs all located within the city limits. Most importantly- it’s also my
hometown, which means I’m pretty bored of the sites my home has to offer. I wanted
something different, something like nature. Green space that Toronto lacks.
I started out by drawing a one-hour driving radius on a map surrounding the city of
Toronto. I’m lucky to have a car, so it allows me to drive to many of the smaller cities
surrounding Toronto. I also used the website TheOutbound.com which is a valuable
resource for trails and hikes. All of the guides on their website are written by the hikers
and photographers who have visited those places.
One of the first cities within the radius I decided to explore is Hamilton. I’d often
overlooked Hamilton as a place of natural beauty and adventure due to the appearance
one sees of the city from the highway. My friends and I jokingly refer to it as “District
13” because all that is visible from the highway are smoke stacks and steel mills. I soon
discovered that Hamilton is filled with adventure- more than 100 waterfalls and endless
trails. The first adventure in Hamilton was to visit Websters and Tew’s Falls ending at
Dundas Peak. This awesome hike took me to massive waterfalls, and ended at the Peak,
overlooking endless forest, train tracks and housing divisions in the distance. The
photography was unreal; everywhere I turned was an opportunity to take scenic pictures.
It was hard to believe I was so close to home.
The next adventure was actually within the Toronto city limits. I live at the West-end of
the city, and only ever really venture to the downtown core. My initial assumption was
that East and West Toronto were similar. What a mistake! I had seen that a lot of other
Toronto Photographers had started to feature the Scarborough Bluffs on Instagram.
Instagram is a great place to find adventure close to home. You can follow influencers
and lesser-known photographers on Instagram, they’ll often lead you to places you never
knew existed in your city!
The Bluffs are a 9-kilometer long, 90-meter escarpment extending far above Lake
Ontario. At the bottom of the Bluffs in some places are beaches. Here I found a mud
trail extending off one of the beaches, which allowed me to walk along the base of the
escarpment and ultimately got me to a lookout. I stopped on this lookout and had some
lunch while I marveled at the beauty right before me. I was still within my city.
We often overlook the natural beauty of places so close to home. Adventure is not
restricted to those who can pay thousands of dollars for flights to exotic locations.
Adventure is about experiencing new things and places. Take a step forward and explore
your own town! You will find that adventure is waiting for you!
Live The Adventure!
About The Author: Alex Hughes is a PhD student in History and Pop Culture at York
University in Toronto, Canada. He is an aspiring photographer.