From Glaciers To Groundwater: How We Fit In The Oak Ridges Moraine

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In honour of World Environment Day, we thought we’d dedicate this week’s blog to raise awareness about the precious environment that surrounds us. Brimacombe is situated within the Oak Ridges Moraine – one of Ontario’s most significant landforms. The Moraine extends 160 kilometers from the Niagara Escarpment in the west to the Trent River system in the East.

The hilly terrain was formed by the movement of glaciers that once covered much of North America. When the glaciers receded, the glacial deposits remained and formed a “new” landscape.

Fun Fact: The smooth, round, and elongated hills are known as “drumlins,” and as they generally occur in groups, they are referred to as drumlin fields. They are a landform characteristic of areas once covered by glaciers, and as an added bonus they add visual appeal to rural landscapes!

Covering a geographic area of 1,900 square kilometers, the Moraine is home to an enormous amount of biodiversity, and is a vital supply of groundwater. Rainwater collects and is stored in the vast underground layers of sand and gravel (known as aquifers), eventually resurfacing as clean water. Water runoff from the Moraine replenishes the Greater Toronto Area’s underground aquifers and feeds more than 30 major waterways. A total of 64 rivers or streams begin on the Moraine, and it provides drinking water to over a quarter of a million people living on the Moraine.

“The Moraine has a unique concentration of environmental, geological and hydrological features that make its ecosystem vital to south-central Ontario, including: clean and abundant water resources; healthy and diverse plant and animal habitat; an attractive and distinct landscape; prime agricultural areas; and sand and gravel resources.” (Government of Ontario)

Ranging from 3 to 24 kilometers wide, the highest point of the Moraine is 300 metres above the surrounding area. Efforts to establish a trail along the Moraine first began in 1973 and now the trail extends the entire length of the Oak Ridges Moraine with about 275 km of hikeable terrain.

The Moraine is home to an extensive amount of biodiversity including:

  • 1,171 plant species
  • 125 species of moss
  • 166 breeding bird species
  • 30 species of reptiles and amphibians
  • 73 fish species
  • 74 species of butterflies
  • 70 dragonfly and damselfly species

As an outdoor facility that relies on Mother Nature, Brimacombe recognizes the importance of protecting the environment and its fragile ecosystems. We also believe an understanding and appreciation of nature is essential for children.

On July 3rd, Camp Brimacombe launches with The Great Canadian Adventure. Travel coast-to-coast across our great country, exploring the Northern Lights, Great Lakes, Rocky Mountains and vast woodlands, all from within the beautiful Oak Ridges Moraine. It’s not too late to register the kids for a day (or week!) of exploration and learning!

Can’t make it out that week? Don’t worry, Week Eight presents another opportunity with Nature Explorers: Discovering the Great Outdoors!

Don’t miss out on all the fun at Camp Brimacombe this summer! Register today at