City Of Vaughan Advances Environmental Beautification Through the Macmillan Nature Reserve

September 21, 2021

A historical, natural gem in the city of Vaughan is being rehabilitated thanks to investments from the Canada Community-Building Fund. 

The former MacMillan Farm property is being transformed into the MacMillan Nature Reserve – a sustainable green space with cultural, recreational and educational opportunities for residents and visitors to explore. 

The scope of work in the first phase of the enhancements included the removal of a concrete dam, realignment of a footbridge as well as natural restoration and safety improvements, in partnership with the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) and Nature Conservancy of Canada. Prior to the restorations, approximately four hectares of the property were prone to flooding, with the footbridge and concrete dam susceptible to damage. Erosion caused by overland flow into the stream and pond was mitigated through strategic plantings and erosion mitigation measures.

The 24-acre property is surrounded by 135-acres of Nature Conservancy of Canada lands. A landmark in Vaughan’s history, the MacMillan Farm property is a site of early settlement. It was previously owned by the MacMillan family and was purchased by the City of Vaughan in 2011. Two historical houses remain on the property – the William Cook and the Valentine Keffer homes. 

The City plans to maintain and protect the two historical houses while creating opportunities that promote active living and healthy physical, social and educational development for all ages. Future design elements will incorporate themes of nature, food, agriculture, heritage, tourism and education to enhance awareness and a deeper appreciation of the environment.

The future of the land will create new opportunities for partnerships with organizations associated with urban farming while maintaining the land’s natural heritage and character. The City envisions that the MacMillan Nature Reserve will become an inviting green space for all Vaughan residents to appreciate and enjoy.

Photo of Vaughan nature reserve


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