|A walk on the wild side of Morningside Park|
This area is accessible from the Curran Hall
Community's entrances to the park and their
trails. A beautiful rolling hillside of
Carolinian forest, with naturally eroded cliffs
and flat area's with small ponds and flowing
streams, some of which eventually join with the
Highland Creek. Home to many forms of wildlife
that curiously seem entirely out of place in an
inner city park. Deer, foxes, coyotes, red tail
hawks, herons, salamanders and frogs are but a
few out of many species that make their home
here and can be seen from time to time on
occasion while walking through the forest, or as
evidenced by their footprints.
Certain sections of the Highland Creek, visible from the west side, reveal ancient layers of the plain of the vanished Lake Iroquois in areas not impacted by recent restoration and erosion control that has taken place in recent years. The Highland Creek is a remarkable body of water, at times a shape shifting powerful body of water capable of moving trees and rocks during storms, yet also able to sustain many varieties of aquatic life, including fresh water salmon which can be seen on occasion in the fall, making their way north against the current to spawn.
Prior to 1968, the year that Morningside Park became the park as we know it today, the land within the present day area had many different purposes. Early settlers built woollen, grist, flour and saw mills along the Highland Creek, using the power of the creek to create a short lived yet nonetheless important early industry. At one time the valley was inhabited with working farms, a large residential community of cottages called The Willows was located in the valley near Lawrence Avenue East and Orton Park Rd., and a large Boy Scout camp called Camp of the Crooked Creek with the original trail leading to the camp starting from Kingston Rd. and then winding north east to where the trail descended into the valley. Part of this trail can still be found in the entrance to Morningside Park mid way through present day Botany Hill Rd. Major destruction by Hurricane Hazel in 1954 brought an end to the Willows and farms. With the increase of suburban sprawl starting in the mid 1950's with the surrounding land being developed into subdivisions, change was inevitable. In 1963 the Boy Scouts sold roughly 46 acres of their 100 acre camp, the land to be developed for use as the present day Rouge Valley Centenary Hospital and its amenities. In 1968, after existing for over forty years, the Boy Scout camp closed, but continues to remain dear in the hearts and memories of the thousands of men who attended as boys, discovering the beautiful wilderness there, some of which remains and can still be enjoyed to this day for new eyes to discover.