Greenhorizons Sod Farms (Mount Hope)
Previously called Hamilton Sod
2907 Upper James St.
Mount Hope, ON
Phone: (905) 389-1315
Hamilton is a port city in Southern Ontario on the western end of the Niagara Peninsula. Envisioned by George Hamilton when he purchased the Durand farm shortly after the War of 1812, the city has since become a densely populated, industrialized region.
In pre-Colonial times, the North American indigenous people occupied the land, but were eventually driven out by the Iroquois. In 1784, approximately 10,000 United Empire Loyalists settled in what is now southern Ontario. Many more Americans soon followed, drawn by the abundance of inexpensive land suitable for farming.
An amalgamation on January 1, 2001 merged Hamilton with other constituent lower-tier municipalities with the upper-tier regional government of the Regional Municipality of Hamilton-Wentworth. Some of Hamilton’s constituent cities and communities include, Dundas, Grimsby, Waterdown, and Mount Hope.
The Niagara Escarpment
Running primarily east/west from New York State, through Ontario, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Illinois, the Niagara Escarpment is the most prominent topographical feature of southern Ontario. It is a massive wooded ridge of ancient limestone rising 1625 feet above sea level at its tallest point and spanning a distance of 450 miles.
The ridge is not a fault line, but rather the result of unequal erosion between easily eroded shale and more resistant limestone. The cliff, or escarpment, was formed over millions of years by the gradual removal of soft rocks by weather and water.
Ontario’s Niagara Peninsula is the location of the largest wine-producing region in Canada. Its rich and fertile soils and unique microclimate make the area a prime grape-growing region. The grape-growing area extends from Niagara-on-the-Lake in the east to Grimsby in the west.
The Hamilton Conservation Foundation is currently in possession of over 10,000 acres of natural lands in the Hamilton watershed. Lands that have recently fallen under the stewardship of HCA include diverse and beautiful natural spaces at Iroquoia Heights Conservation Area, the Dundas Valley Conservation Area, and in Cootes Paradise.
Iroquoia Heights Conservation Area is home to several miles of walking trails and no fewer than eighteen breath-taking cascades and waterfalls.
Located on the Niagara Escarpment in Dundas, the Dundas Valley Conservation Area is a favorite destination of outdoor enthusiasts. Carolinian forests, fields, cold-water streams, and remarkable geological formations grace this the nearly 3,000 acre valley. Twenty-five miles of walking trails invite hikers, cyclists, equestrians, and dog-walkers to explore this World Biosphere Reserve.
Cootes Paradise, on the west side of Hamilton Harbour, is the biggest wetland at the western end of Lake Ontario, and part of the Cootes Paradise Nature Reserve. Originally a seasonally flooded river mouth marsh fed by Spencer Creek, the area provided habitat for a variety of lifeforms. Having reached substantial decline by 1985, the Royal Botanical Gardens currently oversees projects to restore the area to its natural splendor. In 2000, the City of Hamilton built a 3 kilometer passive recreational trail through this Natural Historic site.
Greenhorizons Sod Farms has been a party of the landscape of the Hamilton, Ontario region for many years.
Currently owned and operated by brothers Ron and Steve Schiedel, the company’s roots go back to their grandfather, Ivan.
“My grandfather was a very innovative guy; he had the first combine and the first tractor in the neighbourhood,” said Ron.
In 1955, Ivan’s son and Ron and Steve’s dad, Richard, took over the farm, which had a lot of livestock, including cows, pigs and sheep.
Over the next 20 years, Richard tried a number of ventures, including expanding the pig portion of the farm’s operations for a time, and then the dairy.
“We farmed a couple thousand acres of just corn in the ‘70s,” said Ron.
“Then, in 1975, we planted 35 acres of sod, and started harvesting it in 1977. That was the start of it,” said Ron, who took on part ownership of the company with his dad in 1979. “Dad had sold sod before; he thought it was a pretty neat thing, to be able to sell grass.”
At that time, there were seven small sod farm operations in the Kitchener and Waterloo area; as time went on, some of these farms were closed, and others were acquired by Greenhorizons.
“In 1989, we purchased Hamilton Sod. That farm had been going since 1951, and it was one of the first sod farms in Ontario,” said Ron. In the same year, Richard left the business, and Steve stepped in.
Since then, Greenhorizons has grown, and now has over 45,000 acres of turf at a number of outlets across Ontario.