German Mills community is part of the town of Markham in Ontario, Canada located in the hearth of beautiful historical Thornhill area. The early German settlers in this territory gave a name to this community and the park, which is in the core of this area.
German Mills Settlers Park is a 26 hectare (65 acre) natural reserve and a part of the German Mills Creek system. (http://www.markham.ca/wps/portal/Markham/RecreationCulture/ParksAndPathways/Parks)
Toronto and Region Conservation recognizes German Mills Settlers Park as one of a larger natural environment parks with a unique natural balance and of :
The 26-hectare German Mills Settlers Park is a large natural environment park in the Town of
Markham. This park is located within the German Mills Creek subwatershed and contains an
old gravel pit and a landfill site. Tree plantings and naturalization efforts have been carried out
within the park which offers greenspace, a nature experience and a peaceful walking trail. A
regeneration plan for the German Mills Creek subwatershed was developed for Forty Steps to a
New Don and the Town of Markham has been actively involved in protecting and restoring the
Nature-based Experiences – Report on Current Conditions
Read more about German Mills history, creek and other interesting things about our community:
1. History of German Mills
The German Mills history is closely associated with the founding of Toronto, then called “Muddy York”. It is also very much part of the early history of Markham, previously known under the name of “Mannheim”, “the home of man”.
German Mills was part of the first Lieutenant Governor John Graves Simcoe’s overall design to establish a city with a bulwark against a possible American invasion. In doing so, there was a critical need to find people that can settle this province while being in hot pursuit to build the capital of York,Ontario with its surrounding areas. Simcoe generally favoured settlements with township grants where the military could be located and act as consumers for local markets and town centres. German Mills was seen to be as an agricultural settlement for the food supply to the military and its citizens from the hinterland of the then “Infant Toronto” when in 1793, Toronto was little more than an outpost in the wilderness.
German Mills became the first significant industrial complex in Markham township, thanks to William Moll Berczy, a multi-talented entrepreneur with leadership skill, architectrual, engineering skills and great skills as a painter.
2. Do you know that German Mills served as a Classic Model of Organized Immigration?
Thanks to William Moll Berczy, a multi-talented entrepreneur with leaderhsip skills in the area of architecture, engineering and great skills as a painter, led a group of 64 families with 182 people in total in the summer of 1794 to York. This group consisted of bakers, blacksmiths, carpenters, shoemakers, weavers, a preacher, school teacher, brewer, cartwright, locksmith, miller, potter, tanner, stone masons as well as farmers. It represented the first classic immigration model in Canada to fill the critical need of time. In the fall of 1794 William MOll Berczy had hired men to erect a large house and a sawmill building,(8)at what is now known as German Mills. And to bring prosperity to the region a warhouse for the Northwest Fur Trade on the Rouge River at what became Unionville.(9) Toronto and Markham was then a thick, mature forest ideal for the supply of lumber consisting of pine, oak, maple, butternut and other trees. Sunlight was able to penetrate only when the leaves had fallen.
3. About German Mills Creek
German Mills Creek is a tributary of the Don River. It originates in Richmond Hill (near Yonge Street and Elgin Mills Road), flows south through Markham and empties into the Don River East Branch just south of Steeles Avenue near Leslie Street. It is part of a number of streams, swamps and swales located near the Oak Ridges Moraine.
It is named after the pioneer settlement German Mills, founded by William Berczy in 1796.