Milne Dam Conservation Park in Markham, Ontario, Canada, gets its name from the Milne family who purchased the land in 1824 along with an existing saw and grist mill in 1824 for 450 British pounds (that’s $82K CAD in today’s money). The mill, rebuilt several times operated until 1933. The dam, the mills, the general store, and other shops that sprang around, formed the Village of Markham, which stretched north from the dam tot he railway which brought products to the market. The dam was washed out several times most recently by Hurricane Hazel in 1954.(Source: UER)
The park is now part the Rouge National Urban Park, the first of its kind in Canada and sitting at 305 acres, Milne Park is Markham’s largest park. People flock here to enjoy picnics, walking or biking the 2.3 kilometers in trails, or just to get away from it all and enjoy a little reset in a natural setting.(Source: Guiding Star) Recently trails have been added on the west side of McCowan Road which link this park with Toogood Pond in Unionville three kilometres away. The park is home to Canada Day celebrations when 25,000 residents come together to enjoy live music, a citizenship ceremony, a parade, and a spectacular fireworks display to celebrate Canada’s birthday.
Fall in Milne Park
In fall the trees on the south side of the reservoir are brilliant with breathtaking hues of red and yellow. In the morning, the sun rises directly behind the brightest and fairest of all these trees trees, and in late afternoon those same trees are lit even brighter by the warm glow of the setting sun.
This picture was taken in the afternoon with the sun low enough that it wasn’t illuminating the water in the foreground, making for a strong reflection. I purposely did not include the sky in the picture because it was a cloudless sky and without the clouds, the picture falls a little flat.
The next two pictures were taken in the early morning hours, just before sunrise. Unlike the previous picture, the cloud formations were great adding depth and a little drama to the picture. The water was still, with only a ripple here and there, enough to make for a stunning reflection. And to top it off, there was some mist, rising from the water adding to the whole scene.
The following picture is my favourite from this series. The geese staying the night in the reservoir, as if on cue were beginning to head out (I guess checkout time in Milne Park is 6:30am for our feathered friends), some swimming, others taking connecting flights to other areas.
This one really has to be viewed full size to appreciate all the elements that make this photograph special. The geese in the air and the ones that are paddling through the mist in the waters, the early morning mist rising from the waters, the brilliant colours of the foliage, the lovely cloud formations being lit by the rising sun, and the reflections of the entire scene in the water all add to the ambience and mood and make me think about what it would have been like here, in this exact spot, when the Milne family first purchased it. How many people would have canoed these waters, fished here for leisure or food, enjoyed the views of the water and trees?
Many things have changed since those days almost 200 years ago, but then again, some things haven’t. At this spot in Milne Park, it’s easy to reflect on the past, revel in the present, and dream about the future.
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