“The Cheltenham Badlands” sounds like something out of an old western movie. Maybe it would involve a mouse named ‘Fievel’, a friendly cat named ‘Tiger’, and end with the inspirational quote of: “if you ride yonder, head up, eyes steady, heart open, I think one day you’ll find that you’re the hero you’ve been looking for”.
Instead, this little gem sits in southern Ontario, looking beautiful and not saying too much. That is why this part of Ontario is nearly secret. Only the cool kids know where the Cheltenham Badlands are, and only the coolest of the cool actually go.
Are you ready? Okay, welcome to the world of being cool: the Cheltenham Badlands are located in Caledon, Ontario which is about an hour northwest of Toronto. This far-out looking landscape was created by improper farming techniques way back in the 1930’s, making this one if the only cases where we can say ‘thank-you’ to people who were bad at their job. The farmers basically took off the top soil, revealing the Queenston Shale below. These rust-coloured rolling hills are striped with green, due to some dirt wanting to show its individuality because whatever, mom and dad, I do what I want.
Actually, it is streams of groundwater oxidizing with the air, much like the Ottawa Parliament buildings. This is one of the best and only examples of badlands in Ontario, so be sure to check it out before too many people leave litter there and tourists are no longer allowed.
“Badlands” is a geologic term for an area of soft rock devoid of vegetation and soil cover that has become molded into a rolling landscape of rounded hills and gullies. Aka: you get to pretend you are a giant walking over mountain ranges and destroying villages.
How can something so good be so bad? Come find out for yourself.