Where are the Carolinian Canada Signature Sites? | Carolinian Canada

Where are the Carolinian Canada Signature Sites?

Carolinian Questions
Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Andrew Asks:

Where can I find directions to the Carolinian Canada Signature Sites? By coincidence, I've come across a few in my travels & enjoyed those hikes.

Hello Andrew,

In 1984, 38 sites were identified as the most critical unprotected natural areas in the zone by the identification sub-committee of Carolinian Canada, made up of leading ecologists in Ontario. These sites total 40,800 acres hectares in area.  Each site is a story of communities working together.  We began to call them Signature Sites in 2005 to celebrate their role in protecting and raising awareness of Carolinian Canada's unique biodiversity.

Identification of these sites by Carolinian Canada was the first strategic focus of the organization and encouraged hundreds of partners to collaborate for shared goals on a diverse landscape.  As a result, many are now protected, either fully or partially. Some of Carolinian Canada's early work went towards securing these sites and contacting private landowners in collaboration with partners across the region.  Thus, a new landowner stewardship movement was launched in Canada and many landowners entered into stewardship agreements. Since then, many groups have worked for decades on continuing to save, steward and restore the 38 sites.  Sadly, some portions have been cleared.  Others, like Middle Island, were saved and protected through ambitious, multi-partner actions.

 Carolinian Canada worked with local partners to erect heritage plaques 2002-5.  Lorraine Johnson researched the status of the sites, collected local stories and authored our Signature Sites guide in 2005, available in print.  You can also learn more about the sites on our archived website.  Signature Sites are also identified on the maps in our Caring for Nature county factsheets.  While some are on private property, a number are publicly accessible.  

The Signature Sites are a fascinating piece of Carolinian Canada's history and still critical natural areas today.  

Carolinian Canada Signature Site plaques are definitely worth a visit. Check the list below to find a plaque near you!


These directions are taken from the 2005 Carolinian Canada Signature Sites booklet by Lorraine Johnson and have not been updated so travel carefully.  Please send us any updates you discover.  The plaques are owned and managed by local partners who manage the land.

Site 1: Rouge River Valley The plaque is at Glen Eagles Vista, Rouge Park, Toronto. The address is 7 Twyn Rivers Drive and the nearest major intersection is Sheppard Avenue East and Meadowvale Road. By car, exit Highway 401 at Meadowvale Road and travel north to Sheppard Avenue East. Turn right (eastbound) on Sheppard Avenue East, then left on Twyn Rivers Drive. The Glen Eagles Vista parking lot is the first driveway on the right. By public transit, take the TTC bus 85A Sheppard East. The bus stop on Sheppard Avenue East at Rainbow Ridge Avenue is at the entrance to Glen Eagles Vista.

Site 4: Beverly Swamp The plaque is on the Lafarge Trail, at the junction of Middletown Road and Highway 97, near the town of Freelton between Hamilton and Guelph. From Highway 401, travel south on Highway 6. Turn west on Highway 97 and travel for approximately 3 km. The plaque is on the south side of the road.

Site 5: Dundas Valley The plaque is located at the Dundas Valley Trail Centre, 650 Governors Road, Dundas. Take Highway 403 west through Hamilton, to the Copetown Exit at Highway 52. Follow Highway 52 to Copetown and, at the first set of lights, turn right on Governors Road (Regional Road 299) and travel for approximately 4 km to the Trail Centre. The plaque is approximately 100 metres down the main loop trail.

Site 13: Grand River Valley Forests and Spottiswood Lakes The plaque is located on the Grand River Cambridge to Paris Rail-Trail in the village of Glen Morris. From Highway 24, travel west on Glen Morris Road into the village. Turn right on East River Road, then left on Washington Street. There is a parking lot and information kiosk at the end of Washington Street, at the site of an old railway station on the Cambridge to Paris Rail-Trail.

Site 19: Biq Creek Valley-South Walsinqham Sand Ridges The plaque is located near the town on Walsingham, just north of Long Point Provincial Park. Take Highway 59 to Regional Road 60, and turn west on Regional Road 60, The plaque is on the south side of the road, approximately 5 km west of the junction with Highway 59.

Site 20: Dorchester Swamp The plaque is located in the Dorchester Mill Pond Conservation Area on the vest edge of the village of Dorchester. From Highway 401, take the Dorchester Road exit north. In the village, turn left at the lights onto Hamilton Road, Past the next set of lights, turn left at the lights onto Hamilton Road. Past the next set of lights, turn left onto Mill Road. Access to the Conservation Area is here at the restored mill site or farther up Mill Road where there is a large parking area.

Site 22: Catfish Creek Slope and Floodplain Forest The plaque is located just west of the town of Copenhagen, south of Aylmer. From County Road 73 (Imperial Road), go west along Jamestown Line for approximately 3 km. The plaque is on the north side of the road, just before Rush Creek Line.

Site 23: Port Franks Wetlands and Forested Dunes The plaque is located at the Port Franks Community Centre, 9997 Port Franks Road, Port Franks. From Highway 21, turn north onto Port Franks Road. The community centre is on the lefthand side of the road.

Site 24: Ausable River Valley The plaque is located at the Rock Glen Conservation Area, 8680 Rock Glen Road, just north of Arkona. From Highway 402, take exit 44 to Arkona on Regional Road 79. Approximately 2 km north of Akona, turn right on Rock Glen Road and follow the signs to the Conservation Area.

Site 27: Sydenham River Corridor The plaque is located northwest of Glencoe, at the Grays Bridge crossing of the Sydenham River. From Glencoe, travel northwest on Regional Road 80 (Dundonald Road) to Carolinian Drive. Turn left on Carolinian Drive, then right at the T-junction with Pratt Siding Road. The plaque is at the first driveway on the right.

Site 28: Walpole Island First Nation The plaque is located on the Tecumseh Highway, less than 1 km past the bridge onto Walpole Island, behind the sports arena. From the town of Wallaceburg, go west on Dufferin Avenue approximately 4 km to the Walpole Island bridge. Over the bridge, Dufferin Avenue becomes Tecumseh Highway, The plaque is on the right, near the sports complex and the Residential School Survivors Monument.

Site 37: Stone Road AIvar The plaque is located at the Stone Road AIvar Nature Reserve in the southwest corner of Pelee Island. From the ferry, take West Shore Road south to East-West Road, and travel 4 km east on East-West Road. Turn south onto Stone Road and continue past the old schoolhouse (set back from the road) on the right to where the gravel trail begins.

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