Earth Day in Markham this year will have three times as much going on.
The city will celebrate with three new events which are all tied into the 2020 global theme aimed at making a difference in climate change.
“We really want for the focus this year to be on things people can do personally and in their community to help make a positive impact and build a green Markham,” said Christopher Ford, chair of the 16-member Markham Environmental Advisory Committee (MEAC).” In past years, we held a single event. This year we want to try something new.”
The largest Earth Day event is the Toogood Pond Clean-up planned for April 25 will include activities, information, vendors and more at both the pond and the nearby library. It also provides the biggest opportunity for community involvement.
“We felt that visiting Toogood Pond in the spring is a really beautiful time to be there,” Ford said. “It’s starting to gear up for a new growing season, things are starting to bud and it’s a good time to clean up debris since the snow melted and before the plants cover it up.”
Clean up materials, bags and gloves will be provided for the clean-up. In addition to children’s activities, there will be a fun scavenger hunt, an environmentally friendly film for families, and the Toronto Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) will be leading a nature walk of natural plants and wildlife that can be found in the area.
It runs from 10 a.m. to 12 noon at both the pond and the Markham Public Library – Unionville Branch, at 15 Library Lane.
The event is a partnership between the TRCA, Markham Library, and MEAC/Sustainability and Asset Management Division. It is the first time Earth Day activities have focused on the 33-hectare park which includes a partially naturalized pond and marsh, walkway, and lots of wildlife.
The pond was originally created 175 years ago to power a new sawmill. A grist mill, used to grind grain into flour, soon followed. The sawmill was closed during the mid-19th century after all the large trees in the area had been cut down for lumber. A fire destroyed the grist mill in 1934.
It is named for the Toogood family who had a small house at the southern end of the pond. In the 1980s, the City of Markham acquired the property.
In the old days, many local young people learned how to swim there, near the dam. The pond has also been used for fishing.
Ford’s favourite summertime activity is taking a walk through the area with his wife and 1-1/2 year old daughter. In the wintertime, he can remember skating on the pond and following it up with a visit to the library and a stroll down Unionville’s main street.
Additional Earth Day Events include:
March 28 – Earth Hour at Cornell Community Centre and Library from 7-9 p.m. This event is organized by Cornell Residents Association, supported by Markham Ward 5 Councillor Keyes
April 18 – MEAC Sustainability Blitz at various community centres from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. MEAC will showcase their personal sustainability stories, highlight easy lifestyle changes, and promote upcoming events happening across the City.