The Neighbourhood of Oakridge
The neighbourhood of Oakridge was developed beginning in the 1950’s by Sifton Properties, and is still being developed on its northern edge today in what is now being called Oakridge Crossing and Deer Ridge. The area is known for its curved, rolling, mature, treed streets with family homes on large lots. It is an area with mostly single family homes with almost no medium or high density development. The area is serviced by retail establishments at the corner of Hyde Park and Oxford and along Wonderland near Oxford. The area benefits from close proximity to good schools at the elementary and secondary levels as well as a number of parks.
Sifton Bog Environmentally Significant Area (ESA) is located on the south side of Oxford Street, west of Hyde Park Road. Parking is available at the main entrance on Oxford Street. The main feature of this 40-ha public site is the floating acid peat bog and associated boreal plant life. Deciduous swamp and upland forest surround the bog, providing a sharp contrast between the northern (boreal) and southern (Carolinian) vegetation types.
There are a variety of trails within this site, totaling 2.5 km. A 370-metre long boardwalk leads from the parking lot at Oxford Street to Redmond’s Pond at the centre of the bog, where there is a viewing platform. Most of the trails are easy to walk, but there are a couple of short hills. The managed trails are marked with yellow blazes.
Since the bog’s “discovery” by local naturalists in the 1870s, it has been a site of fascination and some controversy. In the 20th century, drainage was attempted to grow celery, layers of peat were harvested, and Black Spruce trees were sold for Christmas trees.
In 1957 a movement to preserve the bog was initiated by Dr. W.W. Judd of the University of Western Ontario. The Upper Thames River Conservation Authority acquired the site in 1967 from the Sifton Construction Company. The City of London later purchased additional lands.
The bog is a product of glaciation. As the last ice sheet melted 13,000 years ago, a large block of ice broke off and settled in the glacial till (sand and gravel). When the block melted it left a kettle lake, cut off from any watercourses. Sedges, mosses and other plants gradually colonized the margins of the lake. Due to the cool, oxygen-poor conditions, when dead plants sank to the bottom, they did not break down fully, but became compressed as peat. In time, the accumulating peat formed a semi-floating mat that crept from the outer edges of the bog towards the open water at the centre. As the mat became consolidated, Sphagnum mosses, heath plants and spruce trees grew on the drier hummocks.
The bog’s most fascinating plant life is found near Redmond’s Pond, where colourful Sphagnum mosses grow on the surface of a quaking mat of partly decayed mosses. Other common plants include Leatherleaf, Small Cranberry, Black Huckleberry and Highbush Blueberry. Carnivorous plants such as Pitcher Plant and Round-leaved Sundew grow amongst the mosses. Orchids, including Rose Pogonia and Grass Pink, brighten the mat in early summer. In the fall, a profusion of Cotton Grass, a kind of sedge, may be seen. Towards the outer edges of the bog, Black Spruce and Tamarack trees grow. Redmond’s Pond supports Southern Pond Lily, identified by its attractive yellow flowers and upright leaves.
Surrounding the peat bog is a swamp of Red and Silver Maple, White Pine and White Birch. This area is being taken over by an invasive, non-native shrub called Glossy Buckthorn. There are also several small pockets of Silver Maple swamp in the southwest corner of the ESA near Naomee Place. On the higher, drier ground surrounding the bog are trees and shrubs typical of southern Ontario’s hardwood forest. Stately White and Red Oak, Black Cherry, and Sugar Maple stand tall, overlooking the bog.
A very large population of White-tailed Deer resides within and around the ESA. The herd’s intense browsing pressure is known to result in the loss of young trees, which has a long-term impact on forest regeneration.
Thames Valley Golf
The Thames Valley Golf Course is situated along the Thames River just 10 minutes from downtown London. Established in 1924, the 18 hole Classic Course features natural topography of the land, pleasant and picturesque elevation changes, large mature tree lined fairways, and tricky undulating greens. The experience is extraordinary!
The clubhouse is situated overlooking the 18th green and the Thames River and is the perfect spot to enjoy food or beverage in the clubhouse or on the patio after your round. The newly renovated pro shop has all your golfing needs including the latest merchandise, power carts, rental clubs, repairs and lessons from CPGA professionals.
Source: City of London
Child and Parent Resource Centre
The Child and Parent Resource Institute (CPRI) provides voluntary services to children and youth from 0 – 18 years of age with complex mental health and/or developmental challenges (and their families) on a short term residential and community basis. CPRI is 100% funded by the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services and services are offered at no charge.
The services provided are highly specialized and include assessment, consultation, treatment, research and education. They also provide programs and clinics for children and youth, their families and caregivers. All CPRI services are provided on a voluntary basis and in accordance with their Informed Consent Policy.
In addition to clinical services, they have a number of Resources available to CPRI’s families, caregivers and staff, as well as to the entire community, including the Library/Family Resource Centre.
The goal of the Research and Education program is to initiate, cultivate, undertake and disseminate research that enhances understanding and works towards ensuring programs at CPRI are evidence-based, effective and efficient. The program also provides learning opportunities for clinical student placements. CPRI is renowned as an international leader in Biochemical Genetics, providing diagnostic laboratory tests, therapeutic monitoring and consultations.
Parks and Other Places of Interest
The area is served by the Oakridge Arena as well as Oakridge Acres Park, Kelly Park, McKillop Park, Naomee Park, Oakridge Park, Hezeldon Park, Hazeldon Park North, Clara Brenton Park as well as a number of unnamed green spaces.
Area schools include Riverside Public School, West Oaks French Immersion, John Dearness Public School, Clara Brenton Public School, Notre Dame Catholic Elementary, St. Paul Catholic Elementary and Oakridge Secondary School as well as St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Secondary School.
The area is also the home for St. Matthew’s Hall, a leading area private school.
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