Wednesday, June 22, 2016

King Township Centennial Park

Rebel William Lyon Mackenzie
reported to have hid out on King Ridge
I spent some time on Sunday reading through the 1954 entries of the King Ridge Women's Institute to the Tweedsmuir History records.   The King Ridge area of King Township was located in and around the intersection of the 5th Concession (Jane Street) and the 16th Sideroad.   Today, the area is known as the Sacred Heart Catholic Settlement.   In the early 1800s, the King Ridge area was covered with forests and they would be logged for lumber for many years.   Huge pines were highly valued as possible sailing masts and oral histories still exist with some King old-timers, of the last time massive cut pines were loaded onto multiple wagons and hauled by dozens of horses to the waiting railway cars in King City.   Meanwhile provincial politics were descending into violent confrontation, culminating in the Rebellion of 1837 in Upper Canada.   Mackenzie and his followers were defeated at Montgomery's Tavern, three miles north of Toronto.   Thus began a long flight from justice For Mackenzie before he landed in the United States.   Regarding Mackenzie's flight for justice through King Township, the King Ridge Women's Institute has the following to say, on Feb. 1, 1956.   "In the year 1837, the time of the Rebellion, William Lyon MacKenzie hid in the bush in the middle block lot 18 rear of the fourth concession.   There was a man by the name of Thomas Watson who lived on lot 26.   He used to go every day between the hours of of 12 and two o'clock to take him food to eat.   At this time no one lived south of the Aurora side road.   It was all thick bush.   In 1910 there was a tower built on the fifty acres south half of lot 17.   No one really knew why it was built".
 Photos Barry Wallace

The photo above shows the entrance to King's Centennial Park which is located on Lot 18 on the east side of Jane Street, between the 16th and 17th Sideroads.   The front portion of the park (seen below) is fairly open but quickly becomes a mature rugged hilly forest which is utilized regularly by mountain bike riders, on three courses of different degrees of difficulty.   One of the extreme trail u-turns is seen in the second photo below.

The photo above shows the plaque on the right-hand pillar at the entrance to Centennial Park.   The park/arboretum was created to celebrate Canada's centennial in 1967.   Today, almost 50 years later, it is mountain bike riders who celebrate the park's existence as one of the Greater Toronto Area's best mountain bike riding venues.
In the photo at left, the park's many visitors are warning about the existence of poison ivy growing on the grounds.

Please comment if you wish.
Barry Wallace   

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