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Groundbreaking of New Garden Marks 75th Anniversary of Alumni Association of Niagara Parks School of Horticulture

Groundbreaking of New Garden Marks 75th Anniversary of Alumni Association of Niagara Parks School of Horticulture

The Alumni Association of the Niagara Parks School of Horticulture celebrated its 75th anniversary on Saturday with the groundbreaking of a new “Garden of Recognition” at Niagara Parks’ Botanical Gardens.

The Niagara Parks School of Horticulture was the brainchild of Hamilton politician Thomas Baker McQuesten, who in 1936 was Minister of Highways in Ontario and Chair of the Niagara Parks Commission. McQuesten had a long background in parks development as member of the Hamilton Parks Board and saw the need for training of Canadian gardening experts, As he wrote in a report, “most of the small and ever-dwindling supply of expert gardeners available in the country were elderly men who had come out originally from Great Britain and, since such emigration had practically ceased there was an urgent need for the training of Canadian boys in this work.”

The establishment of the school was entrusted to Matt Broman, a Swedish-born landscaper, who had been instrumental in the design and construction of Hamilton’s Rock Garden, Broman became McQuesten’s most trusted associate. From the    outset the program relied heavily on hands-on training supplemented by classroom studies, the so-called British model.

Over the course of 75 years, the Alumni Association of the Niagara Parks School of Horticulture has amassed an impressive network of accomplished leaders in the field of horticulture who have continued to give back generously to support the school.

Located adjacent to the student residence, the addition of this new garden space to the spectacular grounds provides opportunities for the formal recognition of individuals who have contributed to the success of the Niagara Parks School of Horticulture and Botanical Gardens. Over 100 graduates, instructors and current students were in attendance for the announcement and official soil-turning, as well as representatives of Niagara Parks and community supporters.

Said Niagara Parks Chair April Jeffs, “” This wonderful addition to the Botanical Gardens will acknowledge those who have contributed to the success of the Alumni Association and the gardens themselves. It is a fitting tribute to celebrate their contributions while adding a beautiful new space to these grounds that will be enjoyed for generations to come.”

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