Immediately south of Parkwood Hospital is Westminster Ponds, a large area of forest enclosing three large ponds. A short distance to the southeast are two more ponds known as Pond Mills. These are all kettle lakes, depressions left in the Ingersoll Moraine by the last glaciation, and today they are all protected public land.
There is a long history of the ponds as a favourite haunt of local naturalists, especially the famous W.E.Saunders who was heavily involved in several conservation organizations in the early part of the last century. It's the remarkable diversity of plants that accounts for the interest. And the ponds are surrounded by a variety of walking trails. They are in remarkably natural condition too.
Their history last century was not always oriented to protection. The city had a landfill nearby that it wanted to expand, the hospital lands have changed over time, and subdivisions were encroaching. Starting in 1943 the development of facilities for veterans became a major influence, including the village described in the previous post.
The area becamepart of th city in 1961 and subdivisions were expanding. An activist with the local field naturalists club led a campaign to see the area protected starting in the late sixties. It was a time when I was doing my first degree here at Western, so I was well aware of the campaign.
Over the nearly 50 years since there have been a number of studies of the area, and designations have changec as the city adopted an environmentally sensitive are policy, tightening protectionfor the area. The Westminster Ponds are a big highlight among the natural areas of London.
If you check google maps, and choose the satellite view you can see a great aerial image of the ponds and hospital. The 'Westminster Ponds/Pond MillsMaster Plan Update 2005' provides a very detailed ecological description and history.