Claireville Conservation Area
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Photo by Mark Stevens
Giddy-UpThere is concrete to the north of you, highways to the south. A procession of transport trucks roars to the east while apartments stab the sky to the west. But it is relatively quiet here.
A low thrum from the traffic is present for sure, but the foreground is dominated by a rhythmic pattern that takes you back a hundred years. And back to nature as well as your horse strolls sedately through forest and meadow, skirting wetlands and streams. All of this can be experienced mere meters from the border of Canada’s biggest city.
Not many people know about the Claireville Conservation Area, the largest natural reserve maintained by Toronto’s Regional Conservation Authority. It's a regeneration zone that encompasses a significant stretch of the watershed of the Humber, designated a Canadian heritage river.
Even fewer know about a farm called Claireville Ranch that boasts 35-plus horses.
The stable offers one-hour trail rides year-round (weekends only during the winter). You don’t even have to know how to ride; they give you a quick orientation before you start.
And then you’re off, soothed by a gentle swaying rhythm, mesmerized by the feeling of cantering through a forest, and serenaded by the clip-clop, clip-clop of horse hooves on fieldstone and gravel.