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NEWS: Rediscovering Wychwood Pond (Apr. 2024)

May 7th, 2024 · No Comments

One of the last visible remnants of Taddle Creek


By Mia Keskinen 

Wychwood Pond is a hidden gem within the Annex waiting to be discovered. The pond is in Wychwood Park, located near Bathurst Street and Davenport Road. The park is a picturesque enclave with English-style homes tucked away in a pocket of forest.  Although the park is hidden in a residential area, it is open to the public to enjoy.

Upon entering the gates of Wychwood Park, a plaque explains the history of the area and the pond. According to the Wychwood Park Historical Society, the residential area was named after Wychwood Forest in Oxfordshire, England. The first home was built in 1847 by the landscape artist Marmaduke Matthews who intended to start an artists’ colony. 

The pond was artificially created by damming Taddle Creek. A spring in the pond from the now underground creek still provides water in the heart of Wychwood Park to this day. Taddle Creek was once referred to as “poverty pond’’ by the Toronto Historical Association because much of the creek was akin to the muddy swamp conditions in some of the lower income areas of the city. The creek once flowed in a southeasterly direction for about six kilometres from St. Clair Avenue West and down  through Wychwood Park and the University of Toronto. It emptied into the harbour near the Distillery District. Taddle Creek was buried and became an underground sewer system during the 19th century. Wychwood Park is now one of the few places in Toronto where Taddle Creek is still visible. 

Over the years, residents of the park have stayed committed to preserving the park’s natural beauty. In the 1980s, this enclave was close to being demolished as developers wanted to redevelop one of the larger houses. This prompted the park trustees and residents to seek designation for the area as a Heritage Conservation District under the Ontario Heritage Act. During the 1990s, the pond became so shallow that it was on the precipice of becoming a swamp, instead of the beautiful pond it was meant to be in the heart of the artists’ enclave. Residents pooled $90,000 to dredge the pond and conserve its beauty. The pond was soon restored to its original beauty, and nature prevailed. In the 1990s, a  Gleaner reporter witnessed a snapping turtle sitting on a log by the pond, a testament to an ecosystem that was once part of Taddle Creek. 

Today, the pond remains an important part of the neighbourhood’s beauty. Residents of Wychwood Park are no longer solely artists, but also CEOS, lawyers, and architects; however, the heart and soul of the neighbourhood remains. Wychwood Pond changes with the seasons and brings community members together all year round. When it freezes over in the winter, hockey nets are on the ice and children and parents play together. It’s not clear if the snapping turtle, which could live over 100 years, is still in residence.

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