Eden Mills Going Carbon Neutral
We are a small Canadian village with an ambitious goal. We are engaging in a grassroots initiative to tackle the urgent issue of a warming planet. We want our children and grandchildren to know that we not only cared but tried to do something.
Therefore we are aiming to become the first village in North America to achieve carbon neutrality. We launched this project on November 7, 2007.
Click below to learn more about the village and its organizations.
Eden Mills & District Community Club (EMCC)
The Eden Mills and District Community Club Inc. (EMCC) is the cornerstone of village activities. It is a registered charity. The club is committed to keeping Eden Mills and the surrounding area a true neighbourhood, rather than a bedroom community where neighbours are strangers. The club is a catalyst for a rich variety of social activities for all ages.
The club’s greatest asset and responsibility is the operation of the Eden Mills Community Hall. Built in 1916, the Hall is in the centre of the village.
Volunteers and club members have kept the budget balanced year-after-year with membership fees, hall rentals and fund-raisers. Among their many achievements was the funding and installation of an elevator in 2002, supported in part by the Trillium Foundation and providing full accessibility for those who are physically disabled and most recently completing energy retro-fits: making the hall the first century building in Canada to be a net-zero building with support from the Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program, Ontario Trillium Foundation and the Musagetes Foundation.
Fund-raising has been a fine excuse for concerts, garage sales and an annual Green Christmas Fair. The club hosts a Hallowe’en party and End of School party at the Hall. Weddings and family gatherings top the rental list. Local churches and other non-profit organizations rent the Hall at friendly rates.
Eden Mills is special not only in its natural setting, but also in its long tradition of philanthropy, volunteerism and community spirit exemplified in projects which enhance the heart of village life. Over the years the community has worked together to create a ball park, a children’s play area and the well-known Eden Mills Writers’ Festival; and it has set itself the goal of going carbon neutral, which is a project operated under the umbrella of EMCC.
Eden Mills Eramosa River Conservation Association (EMERCA)
The Eden Mills Millpond Conservation Association has become the Eden Mills Eramosa River Conservation Association (EMERCA). EMERCA is a registered charity representing the community’s commitment to river ecosystem health and publicly accessible natural areas in the village of Eden Mills.
East Branch Naturalization Project
We are excited about our current project to enhance a key part of the aquatic habitat at the head of the east branch of the Eramosa River. Since 2016 we have worked together as a community, and planned this naturalization project to replace the existing metal weir, to restore a healthy and resilient river ecosystem, and allow fish passage in times of low water flow, that will not increase the risk of flooding downstream. The engineered design is complete and was presented at a special meeting in November 2019. We plan to raise funds and start construction in the fall of 2020.
To find out more and to keep in touch, visit us at Facebook.com/EdenMillsERCA and ‘like’ our page.
A Short History of Eden Mills
Eden Mills is an Ontario village nestled in the Eramosa River valley housing around 350 people. It is very close to the university city of Guelph and only a little over an hour’s drive to downtown Toronto with the wind behind your back and the highway traffic calm.
It’s interesting to note that this would-be carbon neutral village sits on the site of the original hunting and fishing grounds of the Neutral Indians.
The village was founded in 1842 with the construction of the first of three mills. They owed their existence to the water power provided by the Eramosa River, which splits into two branches at the village. It flows on to join the Speed River in Guelph and then the Grand River which has been designated as a Canadian Heritage River.
During the nineteenth and early part of the twentieth century the village grew into an important centre of commerce. In addition to the three mills, it boasted an imposing three-storey general store, a hotel (both still standing), post office, smithy, electric railway station, gas station and coffee shop. The passing of the importance of rivers for power led in turn to a by-passing of the village, with the fortunate result that much of its historical character and natural setting remain intact.
In many ways the village is very ordinary. And in other ways it is very special.
It is ordinary because the villagers are a typical cross-section of the people you might find in any village or neighbourhood of its size. There is a mix of incomes, occupations, concerns and attitudes, including the full range of responses to environmental issues – from outright skepticism to nervous anxiety.
It is special not only in its attractive character but in its long tradition of volunteerism and community spirit. For example:
The land was donated by a local resident around 1893. It burned to the ground and promptly was re-built by the Village Trustees in 1917. It is currently jointly owned by the Township and the Eden Mills and District Community Club. It is fully managed and run by the Club’s volunteers. In 2002 the Club and community fund-raised a remarkable $160,000 to make it wheelchair accessible. This project was greatly aided by a generous grant from the Trillium Foundation.
The land was donated by a local resident in 1947 when the original Edgewood Park was closed. Residents created a new ballpark, later adding lights and other improvements, and building children’s playground.
For more than 150 years the Millpond was the heart of this village of mills. It was restored in the early 90’s by a volunteer group of villagers who set up a non-profit Association, thanks to the generosity of the landowners who leased it for a nominal amount. They raised funds and contributed hundreds of hours in heavy labour to rebuild the dam walls and other structures. The Millpond is now a river again, and the shoreline has become naturalized.
The beautiful river-scape is visible from the road behind the Millpond dam. You can also see another aspect of the Eramosa River by stepping over the former spillway at the back of the Hall parking lot. The property is leased by EMERCA to provide public access.
Eden Mills Writers’ Festival
It is credited with being one of the largest volunteer events of its kind in Canada. This remarkable annual outdoor festival is in its nineteenth year. It has attracted all of the country’s leading writers as well as several from other countries. It includes one-day workshops in jazz and writing led by outstanding artists.
In addition to the outstanding work of the Millpond Conservation Association, the village is fortunate to include a number of people and groups active and skilled in environmental issues. Camp Edgewood not only provides generous access for residents to its beautiful grounds but also runs a grade 10 Community Environmental Leadership program as well as an Environmental Education program for grade 12 students. And the Community Club, at the initiative of Board member and former President Barbara Marshall, has initiated an ongoing series of excellent and well attended talks on ‘Eden Mills and Its Natural Environment’ in addition to its rich array of activities.
There is a community spirit that is vital and alive in Eden Mills. When the village encounters a problem or recognizes a need, this is a community which rolls up its sleeves and gets going. It does not wait for someone else to fix the problem.