Although it’s not immediately apparent when you’re driving on Highway 11, you can’t miss the wet, black fields and the plasticky, arching growtunnels of the Holland Marsh when you’re on the 400.
Stretching from Highway 400 to the outskirts of Holland Landing in the east and Innisfil in the north – with Bradford right in the middle – the Holland Marsh is one of central Ontario’s most productive agricultural areas.
The area was first settled in the 1880s when local mattress companies set up shop in order to harvest marsh reeds for stuffing and bedding. By the mid 1920s the marshes had largely been drained, leading to the founding of a small Dutch settlement of 15 families in 1935.
Today the Holland Marsh is a mix of corporate farms, veg processors and family farmers that largely grow market garden crops for local consumption, particularly onions, carrots, and lettuces. During the summer months, there is a farmer’s market open on Canal Road, just off the 400 as you get ready to drive up the big hill.