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Holland Marsh aerial view, near Highway 400

Holland-Bradford History

The First Nations of the area used this as a canoe launching place to access Lake Simcoe and trade routes north, and it was also used by traders of the Northwest Fur Company. Midway between Newmarket and Bradford, the community was originally known as St. Albans, became a key shipping & defense link between York (now Toronto) and Georgian Bay. Yonge Street was built in 1792, connecting the community to York, and a defensive wooden fort was added during the war of 1812. Over the 1830s and 1840s the area added sawmills, grist, flour and woolen mills, a brewery, a distillery, a tannery, and a foundry which led to substantial growth in the area.

Holland-Bradford Attractions

Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority

120 Bayview Pkwy, Newmarket, L3Y 4X1
1-800-465-0437 Fax: 905-967-1265

We invite you to pursue a wide range of recreational opportunities in the conservation areas within the Lake Simcoe watershed. By picnicking, hiking, fishing and cross country skiing in these areas you can experience-first hand-the benefits of a healthy environment. Year round hiking opportunities exist in the following conservation areas: Scalon Creek, Thornton Bales, Sheppard’s Bush, Rogers Reservoir, Beaver River Wetlands.

  • Scanlon Creek (Bradford)

    Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority
    905-895-1281 Fax 905-853-5881

    4 kilometres north of Bradford. Signage on County Road 4 directs traffic to the main gate on Concession Road 9, Et of the highway.
    Explore forests, marshlands, and glacial erratics at Scanlon Creek Conservation Area.
    A trail system lets hikers explore 282 hectares of woodlands and meadows, and fishing is permitted in the four hectare reservoir. Picnic pavilions available. Bikes restricted to roadways only.


Holland Marsh

Bradford West Gwillimbury
Access points: Highway 400 to the west and Yonge Street to the east, north of Highway 9

Holland Marsh has 2900 hectares (7,200 acres) of organic/muck soil, which drains to the northeast by the Holland River (which in turn empties into Lake Simcoe). The marsh is a flat, level area that was once an arm of glacial Lake Algonquin. As the lake level dropped and the land rebounded when the glaciers receded, and the resulting accumulated dead vegetation for a few centuries on top of the clay pan in the basin. Popular with natives and early European settlers for productive fishing and hunting lands, the marsh was named for surveyor Samuel Holland. In 1925 28 km of dikes were built and drainage operations began along with diversion of the Holland River. The marshlands lie 8 feet below the level of Lake Simcoe. By the early 1930s, 18 Dutch families came to the marsh and began building a prosperous agricultural community. The marsh today is a market garden for the Ontario and foreign markets, producing carrots and onions, and smaller amounts of lettuce, potatoes, celery, parsnips, cabbage, cauliflower and beets. The 1990s added a demand for Asian greens and bok choy. See “Satellite” view below.

Holland Marsh, Bradford, Ontario Area Map

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