Meet Brook – a remarkably charming dapple-grey Percheron at Mountsberg Conservation Area in Halton region, Ontario. That’s right, farm horses at a conservation site – a site with horse-drawn carriages through the ‘sugar bush.’ Only today, the carriage ride was pulled by a tractor and the Percheron team of Brook, Sally and Judy were left to stroll in the muddy paddock, greeting visitors … if they wish.
Brook is unusually interested in my dog Victor – we’re here to check out Maple Syrup festival when the trees are tapped, cauldrons of sap steam over fires and people line up to each under cooked pancakes with yes, Maple Syrup.
Beautiful Brook and the team live here to pull carriages but also be ambassadors for the park, dedicated to introducing people to the great outdoors and mid-century farm life, which is why the Percherons share a barn with goats, sheep, chickens and rabbits.
Most of Mountsberg Wildlife Centre is dog-friendly, except where there’s actual caged wildlife – a high-light of the park is the Raptors Centre where injured and rescued kestrels, owls, hawks and one bald eagle live in enclosures as educational representatives of their species.
The paddock for the other three Percherons is beside the Raptor Centre, which is the reason I stumbled on it in the first place.
TRAVEL GUIDE: Mountsberg Conservation Area is part of the Conservation Halton and is located off Campbellville Road near Milton, Ontario about 40-minute drive from Toronto. Nearby is the Halton County Radial Railway Museum, open during the summer, were you can ride a historic streetcar on 2 km of scenic track – run by electricity, no horses needed.