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Barrie Garden Club celebrates 150 years

Barrie Garden Club commemorative plaque, June 17, 2024 (Photo: submitted) Barrie Garden Club commemorative plaque, June 17, 2024 (Photo: submitted)
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The Barrie Garden Club has given the citizens of Barrie respite and beauty during its long tenure in the centre of the city.

Celebrating its 150th anniversary on Sunday at the Dorian Parker Centre in Sunnidale Park, those with green thumbs and without are invited to the park at 1 p.m.

"This isn't your grandmother's horticultural club anymore," said co-president Joan Nieman-Agapas, who manages the garden club with Kimberly Sturge.

"Gardening today now includes discussion and action around climate change, native plants and what we can do to protect and encourage our pollinators, as well as topics that feed our individual gardening souls," said Nieman-Agapas.

Initially established as the Barrie Horticultural Society, the first mention of the club was in the August 20, 1874 issue of the Northern Advance newspaper when the writer reported on the horticultural show held in the original Barrie Town Hall.

The writer imagined "we were transported to those fairy lands, of which we had read in the 'Arabian Nights'."

The inaugural membership was 101 gardeners, and the slogan for the society was 'Keep Barrie Beautiful.'

The beautification of the community is a continuing objective of the Barrie Garden Club. The club's legacy is at the arboretum in Sunnidale Park, which was created by the club in 1974. A tour of the arboretum is included in the celebrations on June 23.

In addition to the arboretum tour, the celebration also include guest speakers, presentations, vendors and a commemorative bench dedication to members past, present and future.

Membership includes expert speakers, flower shows, a photography contest, and the opportunity to volunteer at Barrie Garden Club activities, including a community garden at Shear Park, the Pioneer Garden at Fort Willow, the Barrie Library Rooftop Garden, and more.

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