Ontario Heritage Trust is commemorating the 150th anniversary of confederation by chatting with Ontarians about their experiences, identities, values and aspirations. The stories shared inspired us to reflect on the history of our conservation parks.
1. Island Lake Conservation Area
In 1967, the local landscape changed dramatically with the construction of two dams. The dams flooded a large cedar swamp, deciduous thicket and the small lake creating a 182 ha reservoir, first known as the Orangeville Reservoir, but now named Island Lake. Although the flooding resulted in islands being created, the lake was actually named for Michael Island, a settler to the area. The reservoir’s main job is to provide water to dilute the outflow from the nearby wastewater treatment facility. It’s also busy year-round with park visitors enjoying the summer and winter fishing seasons. (learn more)
2. Rattray Marsh Conservation Area
The marsh is the last bay mouth bar wetland between Toronto and Burlington. Rattray Marsh represents many things to its visitors. Some remember how the Rattray Marsh Protection Association and CVC saved the marsh from development in 1972. Others remember it as a living classroom where they came for guided tours to learn about nature.
CVC is grateful to have countless volunteers dedicated to ensuring the marsh remains a local environmental gem. (learn more)
3. Ken Whillans Resource Management Area
Ken Whillians Resource Management Area is named after the mayor of Brampton from 1982 – 1990. Why is it called a resource management area and not a conservation area? That’s because it’s managed primarily to provide natural resource related benefits such as fish and wildlife opportunities or flood protection initiatives. (learn more)
4. Belfountain Conservation Area
In 1908, entrepreneur Charles Mack, fell in love with the area and purchased it for his family’s summer home. CVC bought the property in 1959. Love continues to flow at the park as many couples choose to say ‘I do’ on the picturesque suspension bridge. (learn more)
5. Terra Cotta Conservation Area
The park gets its name from the red shale found covering much of the soil at the base of the Niagara Escarpment. The conservation area’s award winning wetland was once a packed public swimming pond. (learn more)
6. Limehouse Conservation Area
Located on the Niagara Escarpment, Limehouse gets its name from the lime kilns found throughout the conservation area, dating back to the 1800s. Trails take visitors through a variety of Escarpment landscapes and even into its geological heart at an area known as the “Hole in the Wall”, where ladders cut through fissures in the escarpment rock. (learn more)
7. Elora Cataract Trailway
Once an abandoned CP rail corridor, the Elora Cataract Trailway was formed through the co operation with Credit Valley Conservation, Grand River Conservation and the Elora Cataract Trailway Association. The group acquired the property in 1993 with the goal of creating a greenway through which people can explore their environment in different ways, while protecting natural and cultural heritage values. (learn more)
8. Meadowvale Conservation Area
This park is a local nature retreat for people in the Meadowvale community, as well as CVC staff. In the 1970s, CVC’s head office was an old heritage home located east of the Credit River on Old Mill Lane. We quickly outgrew this space and in 1987 built a large office that is now home to over 200 employees.
When we’re not working hard to protect the environment, you can find us admiring the natural beauty that surrounds us. (learn more)
9. Silver Creek Conservation Area
Silver Creek is CVC’s largest property and home to a large list of wildlife species, including 151 birds, 15 amphibians, 6 reptiles and 14 mammals. Silver Creek is known for its rugged terrain and because the 890 km long Bruce Trail runs through it. It’s also known for its outdoor education centre. (learn more)
10. Upper Credit Conservation Area
This is our newest addition to the conservation area network. Since 2005, it has grown to 400 acres of land, making it the longest stretch of publicly owned land along the Credit River. The conservation area is a green corridor that connects larger tracts of land and water, ensuring the long-term sustainability of a healthy ecosystem. (learn more)
What memories have you made in nearby conservation parks? Nature is the perfect place to write your own history. Please share what celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday in our beautiful watershed means to you.
Conservation Parks is giving away up to 1,867 one-year memberships to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation. Enter to win today!