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Museum Talks: Surveys, Swamps, & Scandals

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Watch now on YouTube! What type of trees originally grew in this area? Was it always this wet (spoiler alert – seems so!)?

In 1822, a survey party set out to work in the unceded lands that had become Osgoode Township. For weeks and weeks, they hacked their way through the original old-growth forest pacing out lots and concessions. At the end of each exhausting day, the men carefully recorded their observations or ‘field notes’ into a small leather notebook - The 1822 Field Notes of Osgoode Township - now stored at the Archives of Ontario.

This talk discusses the work of the surveyors and the information revealed by their notes, drawn from a 2022 transcription of the notebook. How did surveyors profit from this information in their times, and how we can use this data to successfully reforest our communities?


Sarah Cooper Godoy is always interested in old dusty books and small ink scribbles on the page. She spent some considerable time transcribing the original document – and is happy to share her findings with the extended community.

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