Who was Homer Watson (1855-1936)?
Homer Watson was one of Canada's greatest artists. Born in Upper Doon he lived in the village most of his life. To read more about Homer Watson visit the About Homer Watson web page. After his death, Watson's home became the Doon School of Fine Arts and is now operated in a public art gallery called Homer Watson House & Gallery located at 1754 Old Mill Road, Kitchener. Homer Watson is also a Waterloo Region Hall of Fame inductee. Part of this walk passes through Lower and Upper Doon. Some of the history of Doon and its famous residents may be accessed at Historic Place Names of Waterloo County - Doon, Waterloo Township.
What is the Homer Watson Loop Trail?
The loop walk described here is only one version of walks available in this area. If you are looking for a shorter version, you may wish to check Cressman Woods Trail (PDF) produced by the Kitchener Natural Areas Program. Also, you may wish to check my Homer Watson & Doon Loop Hikes - 3.6 to 9.8 km web page. This walk is about 8 km and follows Kitchener community trails. Segments of it are part of the Grand Valley Trail. One can start the walk at a few locations where you can park a car. In the image below the parking locations are indicated by a red, uppercase P, the T shows the location of the Waterloo Pioneer Memorial Tower, a Classified Federal Heritage Building, and the C indicates the location of the confluence of Schneider Creek with the Grand River.
- Pioneer Park Plaza (P1) = 43.393528,-80.432591
- Homer Watson parking at end of Wilson Ave (P2) = 43.405262,-80.436748
- Walter Bean Access Trail parking, Marguerite Omston Trailway (P3) = 43.389861,-80.421612
- Parking lot at junction of Huron Rd & Mill Park Dr (P4) = 43.401389, -80.432987 (NEW)
GPS Track of Trail in Google Maps
Trail Description (8 km) - clockwise from P1
Crossing Pioneer Drive (caution, busy street) pick up the community trail to your left as you go by the Southwest Optimist Sports Field and follow the path through Upper Canada Park with Schneider Creek on your left. Follow this path to and under Homer Watson Blvd. Shortly after keep to the left reaching Huron Road near a concrete bridge across from the Waterloo Region Museum and Doon Heritage Village. Cross Huron Road, turn right along the grassy shoulder of Huron Road until you reach Mill Park Drive. Turn left, go past several large, barrier stones and proceed along a closed asphalt road arriving at a small parking lot at the end of Wilson Ave. [In this area, in spring, keep you eyes open for the less common white dog tooth violet/adder's tongue/trout lily (Erythronium albidum)]. Keep right and up to the fence and lookout at the top of the sandy river bluff. Note that this area has its share of poison ivy so be aware! Leave the lookout with the river to your left watching for and following the white blazes of the Grand Valley Trail. If you have downloaded the GPS track (see below) and are following it in your GPS unit, you will follow a path downward closer to the river and away from the white blazes. Eventually you will climb back to the white blazes and keep left. At a high point the Grand Valley Trail (white blazes) will veer sharply to the right but you will leave the blazes and follow a loose gravel path downward and closer to the river. The river will be on your left as you pass the Kitchener wastewater treatment plant on the right. Depending on the foliage density you may be able to see the Waterloo Pioneer Memorial Tower on the other side of the Grand River. This path takes you to an open area (C on map) with a picnic bench and if you proceed past it a bit you will see the confluence of Schneider Creek with "The Grand". In the opposite direction (up the Grand River), you will see the Pioneer Tower on the other side. Follow the path out to Old Mill Road. On the way you will see the remains of the Ferrie family water-powered grist mill. At Old Mill Road turn left across Schneider Creek on the bridge, cross the road, go down a slope into Willowlake Park picking up the community path with Schneider Creek on the right. Follow this path (you are leaving Lower Doon) out to the Walter Bean Trail parking lot at Homer Watson Blvd. Take the path to the right that goes down, under the bridge and back up along the west side of Doon South Drive (you are entering Upper Doon). Turn right at Doon Village Road (Waterloo 69) and walk on the left side (facing traffic) crossing Schneider Creek twice. Once you are into Upper Doon watch for history display boards on the other side of the road (before Wilfong Drive). Cross the road and examine several history displays (learn about Tow Town, Perine Brothers, Doon Twine and more). Proceed across Schneider Creek (again) on a steel footbridge and follow the path back to Pioneer Park Plaza. About half way along this stretch one might catch a glimps of the confluence of Strasburg Creek with Schneider Creek (on the far side/west side) at approximately 43.401389, -80.432987. When you are on the trail (east side of Schneider Creek), at approximately 43.390396, -80.432773, you might be able to see the confluence that is about 50-60 m from the trail. However, during late spring, summer and eaerly fall there may be too much vegetation (leaves & weeds) blocking the view. The water flowing into Schneider Creek from Strasburg Creek is coming from the west side of Kitchener (e.g. Williamsburg, Huron Natural Area & the ghost town of New Aberdeen).