Wednesday, April 06, 2011
On the edge
It's amazing what you can find in your own neighbourhood.
Here at the northern edge of Toronto's suburbs, we're pretty much on the frontier - the frontier separating southern Ontario's disused farmland from rampant housing developments and suburban sprawl. Just a few minutes' walk to the north is a roadway, recently expanded to four lanes from the two that were there when we moved in, twelve years ago. On the other side - farmland, some of it still in use. But few, if any, of the farmhouses standing in the fields are inhabited. One by one, boards are appearing in windows, outbuildings are being dismantled, and the last remnants of picturesque rail fences are falling into disrepair.
The whole area, like much of this part of Canada, was farmland, supporting mainly a mix of dairy cattle and feed corn, with crop corn and other vegetables scattered here and there. All over are dotted barns with their characteristic double-angled roofs, a style I've always thought of as somehow Dutch in nature - although I have no good reason for thinking this.
Most of these are on the verge of collapse, too, waiting for the day when their surrounding fields are sold to developers and the bulldozers come.
There are few other reminders left of the stoic people who first came here to farm. Maple itself, although a fairly old town by Ontario standards, has essentially no historic buildings to speak of. Memorials to the settlers and pioneers are thin on the ground, although I tripped across one recently, tucked away among some trees adjacent to an industrial property or two, looking for all the world like a war memorial. It's labeled "Primitive Methodist Church", and "Pioneer Cemetery", although the mid-1800's seems a bit late to be talking about "pioneers" in these parts. Nevertheless, I'm glad it's there, as a little reminder of things past, as things future grow up all around it.
Top photo: AF-S DX Nikkor 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR
Bottom two photos: AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G, Tiffen circular polarizer