September 03, 2023

Lake to Lake Route in York Region

The Lake to Lake Cycling Route is a 121 kilometre bike route from Lake Ontario to Lake Simcoe and was part of York Region’s pedestrian and cycling master plan approved in 2008. Having done the Toronto stretch already, I was curious to check out the route in York Region. On Friday, I brought my bike to Bradford GO station and ride south to Toronto.

Map of Lake to Lake Cycling Route (Via York Region)

North of Holland Landing

At this time, the Lake to Lake Route has a gap from the Nokiidaa Trail Parking Lot in Holland Landing (East Gwillimbury) to Ravenshoe Road and Lake Drive in Georgina, while Georgina’s stretch mostly uses Lake Drive.

At Bradford GO, I noticed the station is locked, so you can’t use the bathroom there if you need to go. The train station also appeared to be in rough shape and is now a work zone.

The first kilometre involved taking the unpleasant Bridge Street stroad. As soon as I crossed the West Holland River, I turned onto Toll Road for a safer route which could use a signal.

Toll Road had a rough gravel patch at the start, but was mostly paved.

Holland Landing Road had a paved shoulder which was helpful, while I then took Bradford and Olive Streets to start the Lake to Lake Route.

East Gwillimbury

The trail head is marked with a canoe and some animals inside.

The trail within East Gwillimbury is mainly gravel but still road bike rideable. The trail has done a good job placing the trail underneath busy roads such as at Second Concession Road.

Boardwalks were used for the parts of the trail that went through marshlands, along with plentiful seating.


My favourite part of the Lake to Lake Route is the Newmarket stretch which is fully paved and lit. I also noticed a fair number of parks and other public spaces, along with at least one bike repair stand.

The old Newmarket train station is now used for their chamber of commerce and has a shipping container for Newmarket Cycles.

Several wood sculptures were used as trail markers, though they could have also shown a kilometre number.

There was one part where I got a bit lost at Timothy Street where the Tom Taylor Trail was briefly interrupted. I noticed some bollard protected bike lanes on that street, while you needed to go the other way and cross the railway tracks to continue.

Across the tracks is the Newmarket Community Centre with lots of tree-side seating.

A turtle mural can be seen across the river.


The trail becomes gravel again in Aurora which is known as the Tim Jones Trail.

St. John Sideroad has a multi-use path, but I am not a fan of the P gates by the railway crossing.

While Newmarket’s wayfinding was mostly nonexistent, Aurora made an honest effort with theirs.

I stopped by a picnic shelter at Lambert Wilson Park for some chicken roti from Absolute Bakery and pears.

A beautiful totem pole can be seen shortly past that picnic shelter.

There was a short stretch north of Vandorf Sideroad which had mulch instead of gravel. Not a pleasant place to bike on, while I made a wrong turn not far after the mulch section.

Richmond Hill

While Bayview Avenue has a multi-use trail starting at Vandorf Sideroad, it disappears once you enter Richmond Hill. Given the sidewalk from Bloomington to Snively Street, why not convert that to a multi-use path?

UPDATE 2023/09/17: I was informed by the City of Richmond Hill they plan to start construction of a multi-use path on Bayview from Bloomington to Bethesda Side Road in Spring/Summer 2024.

Once past Snively, paved shoulders can be found which is better than nothing. The route then follows Bayview to Lake Wilcox Park at Bethesda Side Road which needs a traffic signal.

Here is a quick view of Lake Wilcox.

The bike symbol barely fits into the bike lane on Bethesda Side Road, though you can choose to use some side streets to get to the Oak Ridges Corridor.

The Oak Ridges Corridor is not ideal for a road bike and there is a point where the trail switches back to go west where I had to walk the bike. Road cyclists would probably be better off staying on Bayview Avenue.

Oak Ridges Corridor map (Via TRCA) - Note #27 was where the troublesome switchback was

Strava's map (left) offered better detail of this area than Google Maps (right) which can cause some confusion.

The Stouffville and Bayview intersection is poorly designed with only a painted uni-directional bike lane from the Oak Ridges Corridor to the Bayview multi-use trail. One place where you have to be a bike salmon.

The trail had a nice distant view of the Downtown Toronto skyline.

The route is supposed to use 19th Avenue, but it was under construction at the time. So I continued to Elgin Mills which also has a multi-use trail.

UPDATE 2023/09/17: Cycling facilities on 19th Avenue are not expected to start construction until Summer 2026.

Unfortunately, there was a ghost bike placed at Bayview and Wisconsin. It was for a 44-year-old female cyclist killed in May 2019. RIP.

At Elgin Mills, there was a short block which I had to ride on the road to get to the off road trail at Eyer Homestead Park. That trail stops at Princeton Street which leads you to the Leslie Street trail.

Once on Leslie, it’s almost a straight shot to Steeles with nothing except typical suburban landscape.

Final Stretch

Crossing Highway 407 involved using a narrow sidewalk.

Once across the 407, I finally saw the first Lake to Lake wayfinding signage. IF York Region is going to promote this trail on their website, shouldn’t such signage be placed along the entire route?

A short paved multi-use path takes you through German Mills Settlers Park.

A narrow sharrowed Leslie Street then takes you to Steeles Avenue.

Unfortunately just before Steeles, I got a flat tire and noticed a tear along with a nail.

While I was able to get the tire changed, I took the subway at Sheppard & Leslie for a final ride total of 61.7 kilometres including a few kilometres from backtracking and wrong turns.

Despite the flat tire setback, I accomplished checking out the York Region part of the Lake to Lake Route. Newmarket’s stretch was well done, but Richmond Hill has a lot of work to do with theirs while the entire corridor could benefit from some Lake to Lake Route signage. Finally, Simcoe County should consider building a bike trail to connect the Lake to Lake Route to Barrie for an integrated trail experience.

Below, you can see the route I took on Strava to help with your ride planning.

1 comment:

  1. You are very adventurous to tackle some of the roads up there.