Brooklin Lions Wilderness Trail > Trail Guide > Post 12

Revised Sept. 15/00. The latest version of the guide is always available on

Post 12: Historical Changes

The one thing that is constant is change. In our hustle and bustle world it is easy to forget the changes that have occurred over time. Over the past two centuries, the East Lynde valley has changed a lot. Over 400 years ago this area was heavily forested. The First Nations peoples may not have encamped here but may have travelled and hunted the forests surrounding the valley. In turn, Huron, Iroquois, and Mississauga lived in close association with the land and its resources. In the 1600’s Europeans began to arrive in what is now Ontario. As the French developed trading relationships and missionary connections, rivalries developed that changed the political nature of North America.

It wasn’t until the early 1800’s that considerable migration from the United States, the British Isles, and Europe changed significantly the landscape of southern Ontario. The pioneers came to the backwoods of Whitby Township and began clearing the land. The Town of Winchester sprung up to service the new economy and as that economy moved from subsistence pioneering to agricultural in the 1840’s, Winchester became Brooklin in 1847 and grew into a community containing a lumber mill, a tannery, a cheese factory, and a number of grist mills.

As described on the nearby plaque to be erected soon by the Local Architectural Conservation Advisory Committee, the East Lynde valley contained agricultural land and an earthen dam that created a large mill pond that was used to power the Kent Mills located just to the south. By the 1930’s Kent Mills was no longer used and was demolished around 1960. Agricultural use of the valley stopped around 1970. Further changes can be expected. Residential development may continue on both the west and east sides of the valley and Highway 407 is to be built just south of the trail. Ever wonder what the next 40 years will bring?

Hey Kids!

Close your eyes and use your imagination. Let’s go back in time in our minds.

Let’s go back over 200 years. You would now be standing in a large dark forest. It would be shaded and darker. Native people might travel by on a hunting party. Now let’s go back 190 years. The pioneers have arrived and started to clear the forests to plant their crops and orchards, and to make lumber for building and wood ash for soap. They would be living in their shanties or log cabins.

Let’s go back 160 years. Some of the pioneers have become farmers and they are able to grow crops to be milled and sold in Brooklin. You might be wet right now as there is mill pond near by. The water is used to power the mill. Over the next 150 years things in the valley do not change too much but you notice air planes overhead and the sound of cars replacing horses. There are stories of wars far away and with the dam broken the mill pond empties.

Now let’s go back 10 years. Brooklin has changed a lot since its agricultural days. There are less mills and businesses but there are more houses being built. A storm water pond has been made to settle the sediment from the street sewers before entering East Lynde Creek. The valley is no longer used for farming.

And now we arrive at today! A new trail winds through the valley and people can come and enjoy what the Brooklin Lions Wilderness Trail has to offer. Now think ahead. What will it be like here ten years from now?

Back to the trail guide index.