Historic records of the Oak Ridges Moraine Foundation donated to Laurier Archives

The historic records of the Oak Ridges Moraine Foundation (ORMF) have found a new and permanent home at the Laurier Archives at Wilfrid Laurier University.

The ORMF records will become part of the Laurier Archives’ rich research collection documenting the environmental conservation movement in Canada.

“The Oak Ridges Moraine Foundation Board of Directors is extremely pleased with this arrangement, said ORMF Board Member Graham Whitelaw. “Preserving these important documents and providing open access to them is vital for future research on planning, management and stewardship on the Oak Ridges Moraine, Ontario's Greenbelt, and Greater Golden Horseshoe. The collection will enhance knowledge mobilization and access to key documents for teachers, academics, consultants, and NGO and government staff.”

The new collection will complement the records of other conservation organizations in Ontario held by the Laurier Archives including the Beaver Valley Heritage Society, the Grand Valley Trails Association, and the national Canadian Biosphere Reserves Association.

“The effort to protect the Oak Ridges Moraine from overdevelopment has been one of the most important stories in Ontario conservation in the past 25 years,” said Julia Hendry, head of the Laurier Archives. “The ORMF records will build on the Archives’ existing collections that document similar efforts the Niagara Escarpment.”

At 24 boxes, the ORMF archive is a treasure trove of information about stewardship of the Oak Ridges Moraine over the past 15 years. The collection contains unique, unpublished records that document the ORMF’s work since 2003 to secure conservation easements on private land; to work with landowners to restore wetlands and prairies; and support the completion of the 300-kilometre Oak Ridges Trail.

“The ORMF has long made a significant and innovative contribution to conservation around the Oak Ridges Moraine, and as an example, far beyond it,” said Scott Slocombe, Laurier professor of geography and environmental studies. “This collection will allow researchers and conservationists to learn more about how its work happened and evolved, which will be both fascinating and useful.”

In addition to donating its records to the Laurier Archives, the ORMF has provided the funds to catalog the collection and make it available to the public. With the financial support from the ORMF, the Archives will be able to open the collection to researchers by the end of the summer. The donation also supports the creation of an additional summer position for a Laurier student.

The Oak Ridges Moraine is an important geological landform that covers 1950 square kilometres north of Toronto running from the Niagara Escarpment east to the Trent river system. It is the headwaters to over 65 river and stream systems flowing north and south to five significant water bodies and it is estimated that more than 250,000 Ontarians rely directly on the Moraine as their source of clean drinking water and millions of others indirectly.

Founded as a granting agency in 2002, the ORMF has supported 177 projects resulting in close to $50 million of spending on stewardship and restoration, land securement, education and outreach in the Oak Ridges Moraine.