150 Hidden Gems: This Is Riverwood Conservancy

In celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) is launching a fun contest to find the top 150 hidden travel gems in our country. IHG sponsored this post and my participation in this campaign, but all opinions are my own.

It’s official: Canada tops the list of places to visit in 2017 (New York Times). Of course, Canadians have always felt fiercely proud of our beautiful country; from the rugged coastline of Gros Morne, Newfoundland to the breathtaking scenery of Haidaa Gwaii, British Columbia, our land is filled with hidden gems.
_DSC1522Know of a little place off the beaten path? To celebrate Canada’s 150th, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) wants you to share your best Canadian hidden gems! From March 1st to May 31st, submit your entry for a chance to win one million IHG Rewards Club points.

So, what is my favourite hidden gem? Picture it –

A steady stream of automobiles enter and exit the parking lots of Square One Shopping Centre, one of Canada’s largest and most trafficked malls. Nearby, community college students pile out onto the streets, weaving their way through retails stores, residential condominiums and municipal government buildings. A street festival has closed down a major road for the afternoon, rerouting pedestrians and motorists through the jungle of office buildings. A makeshift mobile office is erected on the only uninhabited space on the landscape, aggressively selling units to future highrise residential.

It is downtown Mississauga, the very definition of the urban experience. 

Yet only 10 minutes away from the chaos of city life, nestled in the heart of Mississauga along the banks of the historic credit river, lies an ecological sanctuary. The 150-acre Riverwood Conservancy is a tranquil, scenic escape where history, nature, beauty and peace blend together.
_DSC1513Where is it? Riverwood Conservancy is located at 4300 Riverwood Park Lane, only minutes from downtown Mississauga and close to two major highways.

Why Visit? Riverwood’s agricultural history is bountiful, with remnants of apple orchards, an allee of Norway spruce and agricultural artifacts. Heritage buildings include the 90-year-old Chappell House (and its stone water cistern), MacEwan Field Station (which dates to the mid-1800s and is believed to have once been a pickle-processing facility) and MacEwan Barn (which has its original hand-hewn internal beams from the 1850s). Source: www.theriverwoodconservancy.org
Nature lovers can take a stroll through Riverwood’s natural trails, including woodlands, meadows and tablelands, ravines and slopes, wetlands, creeks and floodplain. It’s not uncommon to encounter bird watchers, hoping to catch a glimpse of over 150 species of resident and migratory birds. In fact, Riverwood is habitat to more than 475 species of animals and plants, making it the most ecologically diverse community in the Credit Valley watershed.
_DSC1516The MacEwan Terrace Garden features a series of outdoor rooms and garden beds with approximately 7,000 plants (!) including perennials, ornamental grasses, shrubs and specimen trees. Bring a hot tea, a good book and relax on one of the many garden benches.

When to visit? Although Riverwood Conservancy is a four-season destination, visit in the springtime to see the nature come back to life. The scent of blooming flowers, the constant trill of tweeting birds and the warmth of the sun through the trees is a feast for the senses.
_DSC1523Visiting in summer or fall? Don’t forget to bring your fishing pole! Chinook salmon up to three feet long thrash and struggle up river from Lake Ontario to spawn in the fall season. Their offspring will hatch and swim downstream to Lake Ontario in spring, returning to the Credit River four years later, as adults, to continue the cycle.

Where to stay? Stay at Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites Mississauga West – Meadowvale. Located in the heart of the Mississauga Meadowvale Business District & just minutes off Hwy 401, the hotel offers an ideal location and superior hospitality. The recently renovated hotel offers deluxe amenities that include an excellent full-service restaurant and lounge, an indoor pool and whirlpool and a well-equipped Fitness Centre.

I especially love the tie-in with Riverwood’s eco focus: when you stay at an IHG Green Engage Hotel, such as the Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites Mississauga West – Meadowvale, you are participating in an advanced, world-wide sustainability effort.

This year, pack a picnic and spend a day reconnecting with nature at Riverwood Conservancy.

Friends, I want to hear about YOUR Hidden Gem! Click here and enter your favourite Hidden Gem in Canada from March 1st to May 31st for a chance to win one million IHG® Rewards Club Points. There will also be monthly draws to win 50,000 IHG® Rewards Club Points which can be redeemed for hotel stays or merchandise! Good luck! #IHG150