(Originally printed in 1967 in a booklet celebrating Canada’s Centennial year entitled, Historical Souvenir Programme, Englehart and District 1905 to 1967; Reprinted from Through the Garden Gate, November 1977; Arlene Letheren, Editor; Title added by R. Heaslip)
“The Englehart & District Horticultural Society was formed in 1956. The idea came originally in 1955, when, due to unforseen circumstances, the Agricultural Show was postponed for a week. Through the years we had always enjoyed the flower section of the Fall Fair. Flowers were grown to bloom for the opening day, but many of them, such as gladiolas would not hold their bloom for another week. Because of this, Mr. and Mrs. Bryan decided to cut their flowers and display them in their home.
“A number of known flower lovers were asked to bring their friends and come to spend an evening with the blooms. Seventy-two guests came to view one hundred and twenty-eight exhibits. Several of the visitors were kind enough to say how much they had enjoyed having time to concentrate on the flowers. As the group talked, there seemed to be the enthusiasm for possibly forming a show for flowers only.
“When the Chamber of Commerce [was] planning [its] year’s work in the early autumn, and were looking for ideas, in order to further [its] aim to make their town a better place in which to live, the suggestion of a Horticultural Society was discussed. The Chamber felt this would be in line with the town beautification plan and undertook to sponsor a residence and grounds prize to be rewarded annually.
“Mrs. S. Bryan was asked to contact the Agricultural Society to see if a second flower show would meet [its] approval and if so, to take necessary steps to form an organization. The Agricultural Society gave [its] enthusiastic support and the project was launched.
“On February 13th, 1956, the original meeting of the Englehart & District Horticultural Society was held in the Town Hall, under the chairmanship of Mr. C. Byam of New Liskeard, who had been authorized by the Ontario Horticultural Association to organize a branch in Englehart. Mr. Byam pointed out that the aims of the Society were to improve home and public grounds, to interest young people in horticulture, to hold exhibitions, to distribute seeds, plants, etc., and to promote the knowledge of horticulture.
“An executive was then formed, with Mr. Arnold
Edwards as President, Mrs. R. Bryan, Vice-President, Mr. R.E. Edwards Sr., Second Vice-President. Directors were Mrs. Helen Peterson, Mr. Peter Gray, Mrs. F. Bowes, Mrs. Marta Brabender, Mr. Walter Hill, Mr. H. Anyan, Mrs. C. Cooke, Mr. George Edwards, Mrs. A.Y. Woollings and Mrs. Art Johnston. Mrs. A. Armstrong and Mr. P. Hodgson were the first Auditors, Mrs. H. McCulloch was the Secretary and Mrs. Hodgson the Treasurer.
“Various committees were formed to carry out the aims of the Society and with the co-operation of Mr. Lloyd Briggs, (representing the municipality) and many interested citizens, extensive improvements were made at the local cemetery.
“The town beautification committee, under the chairmanship of Mr. R.E. Edwards Sr. supplied annuals to beautify the grounds of the local churches, municipal buildings and parks, school, lodges, the cemetery, the hospital and in later years, the swimming pool.
“The first Horticultural Flower Show was held in the I.O.O.F. Hall in August, 1956, with the help of the Agricultural Society who lent flower containers and tables. Mr. Byam of New Liskeard was judge. Members were well pleased with the show’s success and plans were started for a more ambitious show in 1957. Classes for competition in urban and rural beautification were organized and a Christmas Beautification Contest sponsored jointly by the Chamber of Commerce and Agricultural and Horticultural Societies was instituted. Successive years have seen further developments in the work of the Society, both in expanding the above projects and in promoting other horticultural improvements.
“Junior competitions were arranged for the Flower Show and in 1965 a Junior Club was formed under the leadership of Mrs. Harvey Elyea and Mrs. S. Bryan.
“The members of the Society have been encouraged by the growth of interest in home beautification. Englehart is fast becoming known as the flower centre of the North and its citizens can look with pride at the neat grounds and beautiful flower beds to be found here.
“This year , Canada’s Centennial year, the Society is planning a full program. A Park project is under way and plants emphasizing our centennial colours of red, white and green are being grown for plantings around town. President, S.G. Bryan, the executive and members expect us to do our share to make this a year to remember.
“Englehart and District Horticultural Society
Lifetime memberships for meritorious Service: Mrs. Helen Peterson, Mr. Robert Edwards Sr., Mrs. Ruby Bryan and Mr. Arnold Edwards.”
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