TANGLED FOREST: WHAT 100 MILE PER HOUR WINDS HAVE DONE MAY 2018
Marjorie Skeoch is dwarfed by the corpse of this giant tree uprooted in Mary Fix Park by the windstorm of May 2018
Gazing with trepidation from our front porch I watched our hundred year old trees sway and twist as if dancing to some windy melody. Would they snap? Our house in Mississauga is
located on the last holdout of the Mississauga First Nations people. As a result the lots are long and densely forested because the slash and burn farmers did not have a chance
to level every living thing. This sudden storm in May 2018 changed things.
Unseen at the back of our lot a century old spruce tree was completely uprooted. Its corpse fell across Mary Fix Creek and nearly took a slice out of a neighbours house. The hole
left behind by the roots was deep enough for me to seem swallowed up. A grave.
Lucky Mary Fix is long gone. She would be horrified by the way the wind created havoc in her park. Mary Fix park is a wilderness park left to the City of Mississauga by Mary when she died on May 2, 1972.
She wanted to be sure her bit of wilderness was saved forever. And up until May 2018 that seemed to assured. The forest is the closest to Shangri-La I have experienced. A year ago I sat absolutely still
on a rotting birch log while a doe and her fawn sidled past me. And this spring and winter we have a trio of coyotes hiding somewhere in the forest along with the RABBITS and squirrels that the
coyotes regards as fine food along with the odd cat that wanders too far from home.
(Mary Fix was born in 1896 in a French/Irish family. She fought for the right for women vote when she was 16. In 1918 the became the first woman lawyer in Ottawa. In 1931 she married a musician named Albert Alphonse Fix
and they built their house in Toronto Township. That house stands on the edge of Mary Fix Park…south east quadrant of the junction of Hurontario Road and the Queen Elizabeth Way. Being a female lawyer
was tough sledding for Mary. Alphonse died in 1945 and Mary opened the Cloverleaf Dress Shop. She expected a modest life. Then politics intervened. The chaos of development after World War II threatened
to disrupt the beauty of Toronto Township, now Mississauga, so she decided to do something about it and became an elected official determined to bring order to the thirst for monetary gain by unregulated development.
She was a founding member of the Historical Society, a helper in setting aside the quaint and fascinating Bradley House Museum, a member of the Library Board…and was also determined
to save the trees in her neighbourhood.)
Well, Mary’s beautiful trees…towering white pines, spruce, black cherry, birch…have become a tangled mess. So clogged with downed trees that her forest is almost impassable. It took
Marjorie and Woody, our Labrador. nearly an hour to cover a stretch of the forest that took five minutes before the storm. And there is danger as some of the towering trees are hanging like
dark guillotines high above the heads of any urban explorer. The only good thing about the storm damage is that Mary Fix Park is no longer passable…it has become a place that wild animals
They probably watched us tumbling over windfalls and carefully moving below those wooded Guillotines.
Now do not get your underwear in too much of a twist. There are lots of tall trees still standing in Mary Fix Park…and a host of saplings ready to shoot skyward. The forest will survive.
P.S. ONE of the worst results of the storm is sudden decision by neighbours to cut down the towering trees that surround their houses. Trees that survived those massive winds but cannot
Mary Fix forest BEFORE THE WINDSTORM OF MAY 2018
MARY FIX FOREST…AFTER THE WINDSTORM
OUR LOT WAS HIT HARD BUT MUCH OF THE LOT REMAINED UNTOUCHED. THIS DUMP RAKE, CIRCA 1880, WAS MOVED HERE FROM THE CRAIGIE FARM.
IT IS A POLICY OF THE MISSISSAUGA FORESTRY PEOPLE TO LEAVE FALLEN TREES ON THE GROUND SO THAT THE NATURAL FORCES CAN TAKE COMMAND . THESE OLD LOGS
PROVIDE SUSTENANCE FOR A HOSE SMALL UNSEEN CREATURES. THAT POLICY WILL PROBABLY BE AMENDED SOMEWHAT FOR THE DEVASTATION IS SO WIDESPREAD THAT MARY
FIX PARK IS NOW IMPENETRABLE.
WHY OUR HUGE SILVER MAPLE SURVIVED WHILE OTHER YOUNGER TREES DID NOT IS A MYSTERY