This is the lane at my first home, a hundred acre farm located just a few miles north of the Toronto Zoo.
I’ve always loved that lane and some of the trees are really old. In my Dad’s words, “My grandfather, Ben Diller, told me that when he was twenty years old (he was born in 1864) he and his father dug young saplings from the wood lot. ‘Father planted one side of the lane and I planted the other.’ Doing a little math you can see that the trees are 128 years old.”
Although title to our farm was snatched from my own grandfather by the federal government during widespread expropriation for airport lands in the early ’70s, this hundred acres has not only managed to survive, its outlook is bright.
The three-family farmhouse still stands, not much changed from when I grew up there. After my grandparents, great-aunt, and my own family moved away, my father’s sister rented it back from the government, then more recently, from the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority. And there’s the magic.
Not only has this much-loved farm, rich in productive land, family history, and memories, remained in the family all these years, its humble hundred acres are now part of the 10,000 acre Rouge Valley Park. While farm buildings may decay, and the towering black walnut tree may eventually fall, this land will never be built upon. The familiar roll of the pastures, the small stream gushing water in the spring from tile-drained fields, and the depression where there was once a deep dug pond, will remain.
I’d like to hear about your childhood home and memories associated with it. No matter where you grew up, I’m sure there’s a tale or two that should be told.