Image of a festival taking place in the streets of downtown Milton Photo courtesy of Town of Milton

Milton & Halton Parks

Milton is a pedestrian-friendly blend of modernity and historic charm surrounded by the beautiful backdrop of the Niagara Escarpment — the best of both worlds. The town is a rich cultural blend too, with a blossoming South Asian-Canadian population. Arts events reflect Milton’s ever-increasing diversity, from Milton Culture Days to Summer Days/Summer Nights.

Day One

A canopy on a dock above of a lake. There are two benches under the canopy, trees are in the distance past the lake Take a walk at the Mill Pond Freshwater Reserve, which once powered a gristmill. Photo courtesy of Town of Milton
The Mill Pond; Mattamy National Cycling Centre
Two Great Ways to Start your Day

Before you get moving, consider accepting WildFlour Bakery’s invitation to “come for a coffee, stay for the pastries,” to enjoy some of their Portuguese specialties. Other appealing options include the espresso bar within the Butcher Bar and classic breakfasts at Grill Daddy. A Saturday morning stroll downtown throughout the summer months affords you time to engage with local farmers and artisans selling their wares at the Milton Farmers Market.

Next, head to the Mill Pond, a freshwater reserve that once powered a gristmill and now delights walkers (and sitters). An easy two-and-a-half kilometre loop takes you by a gazebo, an old Canadian National Railway bridge and John Sproat House, built in Georgian style in 1857. (Trivia buffs note — it was once home to P.L. Robertson, inventor of the Robertson Head Screw.)

A huge building, nothing but tall grass and bushes can be seen surrounding the building Start your day at the Mattamy National Cycling Centre. Photo courtesy of Town of Milton

Known locally as “the velodrome”, the Mattamy National Cycling Centre was constructed for the 2015 Pan American Games, and is the only space of its kind in Canada. Visitors will be struck by the stunning architecture of this building in the round, on a wide expanse of land that is set to be the centerpiece of the future Milton Education Village. In addition to offering international standards for cycling professionals and enthusiasts, the space is home to both community recreation opportunities and a plethora of local art, including a collaborative mural by the Fine Arts Society of Milton, helmets painted by local schools and pieces by sports artist David Arrigo. Walk the track and view the works with a coffee in hand from The Fix, located right inside the centre! Fans of velo can also visit the charming nearby hamlet of Campbellville. With its slogan of Hike It! Bike It! Like It!, it’s an excellent jumping off point for exploring the region by bike or on foot.

Two adults and two children working with crafts Visit Muse Studio & Market for craft workshops and work from local creators. Photo courtesy of Muse Studio & Market.
Downtown Milton
Shop, Snack, Stroll

The eye-catching mural at Main and Charles, painted by two up-and-coming artists, welcomes all to enjoy Milton’s local arts, culture (and shopping!) scene. The Barn Door Studio & Café, as well as Muse Studio & Market, both sell work from local creatives and offer workshops where you can make all manner of useful items from plant stands to dog leash holders. Textile lovers will want to browse Oh Look, Fabric! with its notable selection of modern fabrics and handmade gifts.

On select Saturdays, wander through Milton’s Farmers’ Market, an enticing fresh-air marketplace brimming with local produce and products. There aren’t too many downtowns that lay claim to an operating blacksmith shop, but Milton is one. The Waldie Blacksmith Shop is one of the oldest shops of its kind in the province that’s still in its original location. Watch experienced blacksmiths at work or book your own smithing session. Check ahead for hours and reservations.

If afternoon brings a sweet craving, you’re in luck. Milton boasts not one but two indie ice cream spots: Rock Star Ice Cream and Jay’s Ice Cream & Sunshine’s Gelato. Or, if you want sweetness picked from the tree take a ten-minute trip to Chudleigh’s Apple Farm for apple picking and orchard treks, maybe catching a summer music concert while you’re there. Not apple season? Not a problem. Savour the farm’s famous apple treats all year round at Chudleigh’s Blossom Café right downtown.

A large building that reads: First Ontario Arts Centre Milton Enjoy live music, lecture or workshop in the FirstOntario Arts Centre Milton interdisciplinary arts venue. Photo courtesy of Town of Milton
FirstOntario Arts Centre Milton
Inspired By Nature, Created For Performance

Bright and airy, the FirstOntario Arts Centre Milton is an interdisciplinary arts venue that hosts a wide range of performances. Enjoy an evening of live music – from folk to the local Philharmonic – or take in a lively lecture series, film forum, or hands-on workshop.

The venue itself is inspired by Milton’s natural surroundings, with limestone, wood finishes and glass reflecting themes of water, agriculture, and the escarpment. If you’re intrigued by the design, consider booking a behind-the-scenes tour to learn more and to get a peek at the stage, green room and the Holcim Gallery with its visual arts exhibitions.

Close view of a dish. A cooked cut of meat is topped with microgreens, wilted greens and tomatoes along with other side dishes can be seen on the side At the Marquee Steakhouse, chefs include vegetables and herbs from their urban garden in seasonal menus. Photo by Serdjo Lakich.

Pair your visit to the arts centre with a fine dining experience at Marquee Steakhouse. The Marquee hosts the region’s talented musical artists in their newly designed second-floor piano lounge. Enjoy live music with your meal inside or outside on their rooftop patio – which boasts an urban garden where the chefs grow vegetables and herbs to be included in their spring, summer and autumn menus.

Day Two

A wooden hut surrounded by many trunks laid in a circle Crawford Lake's Longhouse Village contains three reconstructed longhouses. Photo courtesy of Conservation Halton.
Conservation Halton Parks
A World of Green Spaces

You’d be hard-pressed to pick just one conservation area to visit near Milton. The region is home to half a dozen gorgeous spots, where you can hike, bike, rock climb, ski, golf and more. First, fuel up at the aptly named Trail Eatery in Campbellville. Then, noting that reservations are required to visit some conservation areas, you’re spoiled for choice. Crawford Lake Conservation Area features a stroller-friendly boardwalk dotted with wood carvings, as well as cross-country ski and snowshoe trails. It’s also home to the Longhouse Village, with three reconstructed fifteenth-century longhouses and the Three Sisters and Mashkiki Gitigan (medicine garden), a window into Indigenous agriculture and the lives of the meromictic lake’s original residents.

A waterfall spilling over many layered rocks Take in the beautiful waterfalls of Hilton Falls. Photo courtesy of Conservation Halton.

In winter, Kelso Conservation Area is where you’ll find skiing and snowboarding (at Glen Eden); in other seasons you can hike, bike, paddle or swim. Hilton Falls features beautiful waterfalls; Mount Nemo is famed for impressive biodiversity plus a stunning escarpment lookout; and Mountsberg is home to both a raptor centre and an animal barn.

Two children looking towards the camera and smiling Adults and children alike will enjoy Halton County Radial Railway Museum – Ontario’s largest electric railway museum. Photo by Kaitlyn Patience.
Halton County Radial Railway Museum
Ride the Rails

It all began in 1954 with a Toronto Transit Commission streetcar saved from the scrap yard by a group of devoted railcar fans. Today, adults and kids alike enjoy Ontario’s largest electric railway museum with its historic railcars that operate on two kilometers of scenic track. The museum has an impressive collection as well, featuring vintage streetcars, locomotives, and buses, many of which you can explore inside. Plus, the museum houses various other rail-related paraphernalia. No wonder it’s also been featured as a backdrop for film and TV productions, including Anne of Green Gables — it’s a sweet spot. It’s open seasonally, so check ahead.

A white donkey and a brown donkey behind a fence. The white donkey is poking it's head over Visit Country Heritage Park for its heritage buildings, healing garden, and seasonal events. Photo by Katie Harrison Photography
Country Heritage Park
The Rural Urban Connection

Country Heritage Park makes the connection between rural and urban, farming and food. It’s home to some beautiful 19th century buildings, including a church, a townhall and a schoolhouse. The park runs events of all kinds from craft fairs to truck pulls, as well as selling farm-fresh products. Make time to visit the garden created in conjunction with Grandmother’s Voice (an organization dedicated to sharing the wisdom of Indigenous grandmothers, elders and knowledge holders). The healing garden can be entered from all four directions and holds over thirty species of native plants.

A vine with flowers in front of a sign that reads: Pasqualino's Pasqualino's offers fine Italian fare as well as cooking classes. Photo courtesy of Pasqualino's.
Time to Dine
From South Asian to Steakhouse

Milton’s dining choices include some very tasty South Asian cuisine — no surprise given South Asian residents represent close to thirty per cent of the town’s population. Options include buffet style at Bombay Grill, Pakistani dishes at Spice Fusion and naan at Naan Guys. There’s also fine dining of many cultures to be found, including gourmet Indian cuisine at Chef Sanjeev Kapoor’s Khazana and Italian at Pasqualino (cooking classes also on offer). Feel more like pubbing? For a small city, Milton is replete with pubs, including the Ivy Arms, Rad Brothers Sports Bar & Tap House, Ned Devine’s Irish Pub and Bryden’s Pub & Restaurant. Ask for a local craft beer made by Orange Snail or Third Moon – or simply head straight to the breweries themselves to taste the brews in their original habitat.

Your trip at a glance

This guide represents a weekend-long experience, highlighting one of the many wonderful destinations in the area. To suggest a destination for a future guide, please CONTACT US.

Ontario Culture Days thanks its tourism partner THE TOWN OF MILTON for their support and assistance with this article. All editorial decisions were made at the sole discretion of Ontario Culture Days staff. This guide was written by Li Robbins.