By Ashlee McMillan
I have written about Brookbanks Park and Deerlick Creek before because I was excited to share information about this great walking and biking path in the Cassandra and Underhill neighbourhood. I have always enjoyed spending time in this part of the valley because it is a place that I have visited for years and it holds many fond memories.
On hikes through the valley I sometimes wonder why certain parts of the Don Valley have been protected. My curiosity led me to do research on this particular part of the valley’s history and I was shocked at what I discovered!
My research led me to discover the different archaeological digs Dr. Mima Kapches of the Royal Ontario Museum did in the late 80’s and early 90’s in some of the backyards that line the Brookbanks Park ravine. During one of her digs she discovered a 1000 BC Meadowood-cache blade making it one of the oldest ever discovered. She also uncovered a variety of Middle Archaic period artifacts, including a small peddle that displayed a human face in effigy, believed to have been created in 4,700 B.C making it one of the oldest dated human representations in northeastern North America. From 1988 to 1990, digs in an adjacent backyard revealed a wealth of Early Iroquoian pottery (ca. AD 1000), as well as the remnants of an “open-pit firing event,” a site that would have been used in its production. These discoveries have led local archaeologists to hypothesize that the ravine surrounding Deerlick Creek may have once served as a seasonal pottery production and firing campsite.
Upon learning of all the different people who have used this part of the valley for an array of different purposes for thousands of years, I have deepened my appreciation of the Don Valley.
But I would like to point out that there are no signs throughout the valley to explain and education hikers and bikers of this rich history. This is very disappointing because it would be great if all the visitors of Brookbanks Park and Deerlick Creek could have an opportunity to read and learn about this truly interesting history.
I hope that you all get a chance to hike through Brookbanks Park and Deerlick Creek in the upcoming spring.
Until then, I wish you all a safe and happy rest of the winter.