The Mississauga Garden Council was founded in 1985 to help plan a park and community resource for the City of Mississauga on four undeveloped parcels of land near the intersection of Burnhamthorpe and Mississauga Roads. Working with the City of Mississauga, Credit Valley Conservation (CVC) and the Ministry of Natural Resources, Riverwood, “Mississauga’s garden park,” was created. In 2009, the Mississauga Garden Council became The Riverwood Conservancy to reflect the organization’s broader roles of providing stewardship, environmental education for the public, gardening, and volunteer opportunities on this spectacular property.

Riverwood Park is a green oasis just a few kilometres from the bustling city centre. As you wander along some of River wood’s public trails you might notice a 400-year-old maple tree, or quiet glades with abundant wildlife like white-tailed deer, fox, and songbirds. In autumn, it’s common to see salmon struggling upstream in the Credit River to spawn. Traces of the property’s recent agricultural history abound, including the 160-year-old MacEwan Farm House and the 90-year-old Chappell House, known for its magnificent Arts and Crafts architecture and gardens. A new and accessible two-acre public garden will also be opening at Riverwood in spring 2011.

In recent years, The Riverwood Conservancy has worked with other agencies and partners in the community such as the City of Mississauga and CVC to undertake many important projects, including habitat restoration through native tree and shrub plantings (including a recent Carolinian and Woodland Teaching Garden), invasive plant control, ravine and wetland improvements, and the construction of a bio-swale to filter pollutants from stormwater running off the main parking lot and entering the wildlife-diverse wetland. The Riverwood Conservancy also offers education programs for thousands of elementary and high school students each year, and partners with CVC to deliver Discovery@Riverwood, a series of free, engaging, public programs that happen throughout the year, including guided walks, an astronomy series presented by the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, and popular family programs like “Hot Chocolate and Wild Birds.”

The Riverwood Conservancy is a volunteer- and member-based charity. Visit Riverwood throughout the seasons, join an education program or organized walk along one of the scenic trails, and take a moment to reflect on the diverse, changing nature of this urban wilderness.

For more information about The Riverwood Conservancy and upcoming Discovery@Riverwood programs, visit www.theriverwoodconservancy.org or call 905-279-5878.

(Originally published February 2011)

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