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ICYMI: Thorold Garden Club celebrates 95th anniversary

The occasion was commemorated with a special event at the Thorold Seniors' Centre; 'We have to get the generation that’s following us interested'

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: A version of article was originally published by ThoroldToday on February 22.

On Wednesday evening, the Thorold Garden Club celebrated its 95th anniversary during a special event at the Thorold Seniors’ Centre on Carleton St.

“We have to get the generation that’s following us interested because things are going to be so much worse for them,” said the club’s president Leslie Daniels, in an interview with ThoroldToday.

Daniels has been the club's president for the last six years and she has made gardening and the preservation of nature her life's work. 

“I started out as an advocate and an activist and sort of translated that into the garden club,” she said. "I’ve always felt guilty because we thought it was all solved. Here we are 40 years later and we’re right back where we’ve started.”

The night was led by a presentation on the preservation of wetlands by Bruce McKenzie, who is the former Grimsby representative on the NPCA. Daniels had invited McKenzie to address the bulldozed frog pond in Thorold, and why saving such areas should be a priority in any municipality.

Mayor Terry Ugulini and Councillor Tim O’Hare were also on hand during the event, to recognize the garden club and all of its achievements.

“It just seemed like yesterday that we celebrated 90 years,” Mayor Ugulini told the crowd. “One thing through Covid is that it brought people closer to things like going for walks and hiking and gardening. I hope that that’s something that continues well into the future.”

Daniels credits the longevity of the garden club to its collaborative nature.

“One of the things we’ve been working hard on these past few years is working with other groups,” Daniels said. “We need to call on them and use their volunteers and our volunteers in order to put on these things that end up being really good community events.”

She points to the Seedy Saturday, which was recently held at the Thorold Seniors’ Centre. The event, which was a collaboration between the City, the Thorold Garden Club, the TCAG, The Thorold Senior Citizens Association, and the Thorold Public Library brought out over 400 attendees. 

“Everything I’ve run in the last two years, we’ve had double the amount of people as expected,” said Daniels. “Mainly because people really want to socialize and go to events.”

The club's vice-president, Tami Lyons, has been a member of the club for two years, and she told ThoroldToday she’s in awe of “The camaraderie and the knowledge of all these people on plant life.”

“You can bring in any plant and say: 'What the heck is this?' and somebody will know what it is, so it's very helpful,” she said.

During a speech of her own, Lyons urged members to keep growing the club.

“For a 95-year-old club to still be here is really fabulous — especially in a community of this size,” she said. “It’s really nice to see. We need to have younger people out so we’re really wanting them to come in with their families.”

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Bernard Lansbergen

About the Author: Bernard Lansbergen

Bernard was born and raised in Belgium but moved to Canada in 2012 and has lived in Niagara since 2020. Bernard loves telling people’s stories and wants to get to know those that make Thorold into the great place it is
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