Holland Marsh House

If you every had the pleasure of driving north of Toronto via highway 400, you would likely have had to drive through the 'Holland Marsh', just outside of Bradford. This is the largest area of organic (muck) soil developed for agriculture in Ontario and one of the most intensive areas of agricultural production in the Canada. This is the reason why they call it Ontario's vegetable basket (sorry - not sure exactly who 'they' are). Naturally a swamp, drainage of the wetlands began in 1925 and was completed by 1930. The marsh's length is about 15 km and its width about 4 km.

Some History . . Straight from the Plaque - The Plaque don't lie -


The Holland Marsh consists of 7,000 acres of reclaimed land in the Schomberg River Valley. Named after an early provincial official, this fertile area was drained between 1925 and 1930. John Snor, Canadian represenative of the Netherlands Emigration Foundation, visited the sparsely settled marsh and proposed the relocation here of recent Dutch immigrants in Ontario. Assisted by grants from the Netherlands, Canada and Ontario, fifteen Dutch families many from Friesland and Gronigen originally, settled on the marsh in 1934 and formed the nucleus of the community of Ansnorvelot. Later, Dutch farmers settled throughout the marsh , through skilled farming practice and co-operative management, the Dutch were the first group successfully to develop the marsh as one of Ontario's most important vegetable growing districts.

This particular abandonment is pretty much right in the middle of the Holland Marsh, just west of highway 400. I would often see this place in the distance from the road but never had the time to stop by and smell the roses, or rather mildew as it were.

I often imagined that this structure was at one time the domicile of a lovely agrarian couple who, perhaps, had upgraded and kept this on to house seasonal workers. I was unable to find anything to support this during the exploration.

There were obvious signs of fire damage but it appeared to have been contained to only a limited portion of the east end of the house. The vines in front of the door here presented a very nice fire-red colour perhaps echoing the conflagration.

In fact, on the wall beside the obligatory 'keep out' posting, someone had scrawled the word "fire" (??).
I wish people would use these words in a full sentence.

Given the fact that the agricultural real estate is so precious here, I am rather surprised that the previous owner did not raze it for radishes. A considerable volume of detritus was laid up along the property from the adjacent fields so I guess that even in its abandoned state it is fulfilling a purpose of sorts.

Everything and the kitchen sink seemed to have grown legs at this house and walked off.
Personally, I blame gypsies.

One item the gypsies did not take was this richly upholstered chair. From this image it is readily clear that sneaky dirty raccoons had carried off the stuffing.

Did I mention the exquisitely-design open concept of the house? One would be quite thankful for this on a hot summer's eve for any draft to blow through.
Given the lack of screens, I do not think the former occupants worried about disease-laden mosquitoes.

The only life still left in the house was moss. Specifically, Plantae, Division Bryophyta, Class Bryopsida, or your common window-sill sitting moss.
If you're ever in a pinch for 'fresh greens' . . .

On the way out from this place out on the marsh, I went looking for a location tip from fellow Urban (Rural) Explorer Mr. Nitromare. He described a fairly pristine abandonment dying a natural death on the wrong side of the canal . . . I found it.

One of the reasons why this is pristine is because it is largely inaccessible to a$$-hat vandals and tag monkey.
One would need a boat or commit to a good hour hike into some bad-a$$ swamp land to get to it.

Alternatively, if one were a brave soul and the ice thick enough, you just might be able to walk across the frozen canal.
I will just admire from afar for now.

Happy and Safe Exploring.
If you are a gypsy or a raccoon, please direct to hate mail via the comments box.


Anonymous said...

I grew up in the general area and wasn't aware of the house in the swamp, so close yet so far... Always loved that "grey sandpaper siding.

BTW Moss-eating Gypsies are people too.


Anonymous said...

Glad you took the time to find this location. I know that within the next couple of years this spot will be gone permanently as a construction project willtake it away.
All the best,