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Home > About OHA > Organization > History

OHA - From Then to Now

One Hundred Years of Achievement

Before Incorporation

1792

Niagara-on-the-Lake Agricultural Society was formed in then Upper Canada

1797

Agricultural Fair was established in Toronto York.

1834

The first Horticultural Society in Ontario was formed in Toronto

1846

Provincial Agricultural Fair became Canadian National Exhibition.

1888

Agricultural Society became Ontario Department of Agriculture and Land

Incorporation

 

1906

An Act of the Ontario Legislature sorted Agricultural and Horticultural Societies into two incorporated associations: the Ontario Horticultural Association and the Ontario Agricultural Fairs Association

1906 - 1929

 

1906

The Ontario Horticultural Association helped restore many abandoned cemeteries.

1912

The Vacant Lot Gardening movement started in Ontario.  With assistance from the Ploughmen's Association teamsters, vacant lands in the Toronto area were ploughed to grow food for the needy.  During the First World War these gardens, numbering in the hundreds throughout Ontario provided great quanities of food.

1916

Sent vegetable seeds in variety to England where they were distributed by the Red Cross to war prisoners.

1916

Responded to the plight of Northern Ontarians ravished by fire, to assist and support them in various ways. Sent food parcels to aged pensioners in Britian.  The OHA also contributed to "Seeds for Russia" and the "British War Victims Fund" during this time.

1930 - 1949

 

1930s

Seeds and tree rootstocks sent to 1000s of families in the prairies after the area was swept by dust storms and drought. 

The OHA and member societies organized "Relief Gardens" for the needy and conducted lectures on growing vegetables.

1936

Initiated and advanced the legislative process to see the Trillium grandiflorum become Ontario's Floral Emblem. It is now also the Association's official stylized logo (copyrighted).

 

Sent seedling maple trees to England's military cemeteries and seedlings and seeds throughout Europe, Sicily and Italy.

Early 1940's

OHA's WWI vegetable gardens, now called Victory Gardens, provided fresh vegetables and fruit to many needy families. Public schools assisted with this program.

1945

1200 schools planted 600 acres of tree seedlings throughout Ontario. Continuing encouragement and support in the planting of trees at the annual spring Arbour Days (which has now been extended to a week).

 

OHA promoted education of horticulture-related subjects in public schools.

1948

OHA lobbied successfully for legislation to eradicate the proliferation of billboards along provincial highways that detracted from our beautiful landscape.

1950 - 1979

 

1950

OHA assisted with highway beautification by planting trees.

1952

Sent 2000 young trees to Holland to assist with re-establishing reclaimed land from the sea.

1967

Promoted the Royalty Crab as the Canadian Centennial tree.

1978

Established the Ontario Horticultural Association Oak Grove as part of the arboretum in Guelph. The First tree planted was a Scarlet Oak honouring Mabel Stewart. In 1981 two trees were planted to honour Harry Occomore and Ellen Bigelow. The Association acquired a plot of land to extend the existing area and oak trees were planted and benches dedicated to the memory of former presidents.

1980 - present

1981

OHA became involved with the CNE. Cam Stewart was in charge of the flower show.

1985

Marjorie Durnford started a program of Community Gardens, copied in other locations later.

1986

Assisted with and provided 1000s of trees to replanting the many tornado-struck areas throughout southern Ontario.

1988

The Agricultural & Horticultural Organizations Act came into effect on December 15, 1988. It replaced the Agricultural Societies Act, the Horticultural Societies Act and the Agricultural Associations Act. All societies that were established under these earlier pieces of legislation were continued under the Act. The Ontario Minister of Agriculture and Food is responsible for the administration of the Act.

1991

Planting wildflowers at Todmorden Mills. This was the brainchild of Charles Sauriol and carried out by the societies of District 5 and the City of Toronto with the assistance of Dave Money.

1992

Provincial grant ($19,000 annually) was terminated by the Government. Grants to societies were to be terminated later but were left in place after much lobbying considering the many thousands of hours given to communities by volunteers.

1992

Loblaws became involved with OHA through its Garden Centre program, raising funds for OHA and societies. This program is still in place.

1994

Memorial Book established by Alex MacIntosh in memory of his late wife. Entries in the Memorial book, along with the donations received have provided funds for societies to plant trees in memory of members or other horticultural friends. The Memorial Book is on display at the Convention each year.

1996

Start of Master Gardener Program in conjunction with the Societies of Ontario Horticultural Association

1996

The Association sold yellow OHA Commemorative Tulip to celebrate the 90th anniversary of OHA.

1998

Districts affected by a major ice storm that devastated rural and urban forests in Eastern Ontario and Quebec received plants of all kinds donated by society members. Societies contributed money to replace trees and Directors of the affected Districts received the donations at the Peterborough Convention.

1999

Ontario Horticultural Association Millennium Tulip. Bulbs for large deep pink tulips were sold by societies as a fundraiser for the OHA and named for the Association to commemorate the Millennium. 188,800 bulbs were sold throughout the Province.

2006

OHA Centennial Year

 

The Story of Ontario Horticultural Societies 1854-1973 is available from the OHA.


 

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