Back in the days when glaciers roamed the land, this region of Southern Ontario became the spot where large deposits of aggregates (sand, gravel and cobble) were ground up from the limestone bedrock and placed in this area by massive glacial rivers flowing in and over the ice that was over 1km in thickness. This is called an “outwash deposit” where the glacier edge stalled for several decades before they eventually receded. Over time forests grew, ecosystems evolved on the sand, gravel and stone left behind. European settlers arrived and cleared this land in the late 1800’s to farm. The McMillan farm produced corn and a variety of other crops for a few generations. But, these stony soils were not as productive as many surrounding prime agricultural fields.
St. Mary's Cement/CBM purchased the land for the rich aggregate deposits underneath the drought prone farm fields. Material from this site was crushed, washed and sorted to produce a variety of products, including concrete grade sands and stone used to construct high-strength concrete for building the bridges and buildings we see today (like the CN tower). Material from this site was extracted and sent to projects through KW, Guelph and the GTA from 1998-2006. The material was excavated largely with a dragline. This machine digs down below the water table and left this lake behind. Being simply a “hole” dug into the water table with a mechanical process, the water left behind is very clean, clear and sterile.
At this lake, addition of an aquaculture facility has enhanced their remediation process. The state-of-the-art fish farm raises (rainbow trout) in floating raceways at the north end of the lake. This facility provides a controlled source of nutrients that drive the development of the ecosystem in the lake. In a few short years, the system is flourishing. Aquatic plants have established in the water and on shore. Abundant fish life is growing in the pond including trout, bluegill and many other species that I am sure you will encounter when diving. This ecosystem also numerous attracts birds that rely on aquatic food sources like loons, osprey, bald eagles, great blue herons, terns, cormorants, diving ducks and more.
The transition from farm field to a thriving lake ecosystem lake is an impressive example of quality rehabilitation of a site that produced millions of tonnes of quality materials to help build the southern Ontario economy.
We are now privileged to call McMillan Pond our new local home.
McMillan Pond is located 25 minutes east of Tri-City Scuba Centre outside of Cambridge. To book, please visit the booking page to select your date. Admission is $15.00 including taxes. Rental equipment is extra. Directions, a link to the waiver and more information will be automatically emailed by our system when you book your space. See you there!