Stories Beyond the Mist

Four Mile Meanderings

As the Four Mile Creek nears Lake Ontario it twists and turns through the floodplain, intersecting tender fruit orchards and vineyards. Originally a lake bed, the rich topsoil along the Four Mile watershed is some of the most fertile in Canada.

In 1792 Hannah Jarvis, wife of William Jarvis, wrote this after visiting the settlement at Palatine Hill: “What little I have seen of this place, were it well cleared, would make one of the most beautiful spots in the world…The Four Mile Creek meanders in a manner superior to any stream I ever saw and was it in England would be a place worthy of the King’s notice. There is a great mill upon it and the family that belongs to it are Dutch. We have received more notice from them than could be expected. Mrs. Servos, as soon as she knew I was an American, sent me lard, sausages, pumpkins, Indian meat, squashes, carrots, etc.”

It originally flowed from a fresh water spring in St. Davids and provided a wide variety of fish to be served on dinner plates of those fortunate to live along its banks. Up until the 1950’s the creek teamed with brook trout that can only spawn in cold spring water. Fishing along the creek was a popular past time for farm boys who could sneak off from their chores! In the valley there stands a gnarled old tree with an ancient handmade bait bucket, rusted and embedded deep in its trunk as proof!

It was also one of the favourite past times of my mother-in-law Irene Andres who grew up on a farm about two miles upstream at the junction of Line 3. She grew up with a fishing rod in hand catching white fish, trout and salmon literally from her back door. It wouldn’t take long for Oma Dick to have it sizzling in the pan and ready for supper!

In spring and fall we still witness the magic of salmon and trout coming up to spawn as they navigate the pebbly shallows and ripples.

Hoar frost along the creek early one winter morning.

It’s easy to let my mind wander when walking along the creek on a foggy winters morning and imagine all of the sights and sounds that have surrounded this little section of creek in the last 200 years!