Todmorden Mills Wildflower Preserve is a 9 hectare natural area in the Don Valley, Toronto.
The site consists of a remnant portion of the Don River and associated floodplain, and
is bordered by steep slopes of the Don Valley.
The site today is quite different from 250 years ago when the area
was colonized by Europeans.
When Europeans arrived in the late 1700s the Don River flowed through
the site. A forest of giant white pines, bur oaks
and massive elm trees supported bears and wolves,
and wildflowers carpeted the ground in spring.
A lumber mill was built at Todmorden and much of the original forest
was cleared to provide timber for the burgeoning city.
Subsequently, a flour mill and a brewery were built at Todmorden
and by the mid-1800s it was an important and bustling industrial centre.
Todmorden was further transformed in the 1900s by the dumping of
broken bricks from the adjacent Don Valley Brick Works, and later
by the addition of fill from construction of the Don Valley Parkway
Neglected, the site was invaded by exotic trees such as Manitoba maple
and crack willow, and herbaceous weeds such as garlic mustard and
Japanese knotweed which shade out the native wildflowers.
Garbage and salt-spray blowing in off the expressway added to the
slow degradation of the site.
Today, volunteers are working with corporate and local government partners
to restore the site. Gradually, native trees, shrubs and wildflowers are being
re-established at Todmorden Mills. Wildlife is also reappearing.
Local citizens can now stroll around the Oxbow trail and enjoy the natural environment.
The Todmorden Wildflower Preserve is a charitable organization run by
volunteers. We conduct plantings, weed control, garbage cleanups, and trail improvements.
Members give guided walks throughout the year, and
visitors are encouraged to contribute their wildlife sightings to our monitoring scheme.