The Osprey Marsh Loop Trail provides an interesting diversion off of the Lisgar Meadow Brook Trail, in north western Mississauga.
To early settlers the area was known as the “Catholic Swamp”. The land at what is now the junction of Britannia and Ninth line was home to Irish immigrants who cleared and farmed the area and provided much of the manpower for the construction of the Welland Canal.
What is now the Osprey Marsh was an area of the original pioneer community which was unsuitable for agriculture due to its relatively low-lying marsh and bog characteristics. Today, it is part of the Mississauga water management system. This organization of natural creeks, ponds and marshes is joined with man-made waterways and catchments to facilitate a comprehensive network of water management that provides much needed recreational and green space to an ever growing urban / suburban environment. It has been designed to manage and relieve water levels in the advent of severe weather.
The wide paved path around the circumference of the ponds is perfect for walking and biking and easily accepts wheelchairs. As well, there are narrow dirt footpaths through the middle “islands” that separate the ponds and lead to the marsh at the eastern portion of the area that skirts the Lisgar Meadow Brook Trail.
The Osprey marsh is home to a wide diversity of plant and animal life. A variety of birds including ducks, Canada geese and blue herons are sustained by abundant sources of food. There are a number of interpretive plaques along the trail that explain the origins, uses and animal inhabitants of the marsh area.
While you're in the area you may want to spend a few minutes visiting St. Peter's Catholic Church, directly opposite the marsh on the west side of Ninth Line. The church, built in the mid 19th century was the place of worship for the predominantly Irish catholic settlers who farmed the area. The small cemetery adjoining the church property holds the remains of many of these pioneers.
Wheelchair access is through Johnny Bower Park on Parkgate Drive. There is ample parking on the residential streets which surround the area.
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