Community In Action

We believe gardening is a way to preserve and restore the natural environment which helps to create a quality of life that is accessible and sustainable for all communities. Get Involved Today!


Our websites, newsletters, and events promote the many benefits and diverse nature of gardening and green spaces.

Recognizing Excellence

We recognize outstanding achievement by individuals and communities. We all benefit from shared best-practices, successes, and solutions to related issues.

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Who We Are

The Ontario Horticultural Association (OHA) is a volunteer charitable organization that encourages interest in gardening and related environmental issues with horticultural societies and like-minded organizations by providing leadership and education.

We inspire Ontarians to promote and share gardening.


To be recognized as the primary gardening and horticultural Association by inspiring, educating and supporting gardeners and affiliated Societies/Clubs


  • To provide broad support and guidance, training and administrative leadership, and to advocate on behalf of affiliated Horticultural Societies/Clubs.
  • To develop and support programs for all ages and skill levels encouraging gardening, community beautification, environmental stewardship, and conservation.

Our goals will:

  • Provide recognition, awards, and grants throughout Ontario.

  • Develop and support programs for all ages encouraging gardening, community beautification, environmental enhancement, and conservation.

  • Provide resources for horticultural societies.

  • Encourage the development of new horticultural societies.


Our History

Awards and Grants

The OHA believes that members who show strong leadership and active participation within a Society should be recognized.

Full descriptions of the many OHA Awards and Grants can be found in the OHA Award & Grants Booklet. Please contact Sharlene Desjardins for more information.


OHA is a Provincially Mandated Organization

These links will take you to the Province of Ontario E-Laws website:

Agricultural and Horticultural Organizations Act

R.S.O. 1990, CHAPTER A.9

R.R.O. 1990, REGULATION 16 – Amended to O. Reg. 945/93 – GENERAL

R.R.O. 1990, REGULATION 17 – No Amendments – NAMES

Reports and Statements

Activities and progress of all our local Societies, and the Association at large, are detailed in our reports. A selection of them can be found below for further reading.

The Annual Report provides a bridge between the many different geographical conditions, interests and histories of OHA Societies and demonstrates that, among many similarities, each society is unique in the way it benefits its community.

The Annual Report is also a convenient point of access for those interested in joining a Society.
2022 OHA Annual Report
2021 OHA Annual Report
2020 OHA Annual Report

Our Corporate Report highlights our achievements and the volunteers that make that success possible:

2022 Corporate Report
2021 Corporate Report
2020 Corporate Report
2019 Corporate Report
2018 Corporate Report
2017 Corporate Report
2016 Corporate Report
2015 Corporate Report
2014 Corporate Report
2013 Corporate Report

Here is a selection of our audited financial statements for your information:

2022 audited financial statements
2021 audited financial statements
2020 audited financial statements
2019 audited financial statements
2018 audited financial statements
2017 audited financial statements
2016 audited financial statements
2015 audited financial statements



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
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 quantities 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 Britain.  The OHA also contributed to “Seeds for Russia” and the “British War Victims Fund” during this time.
1930 – 1949

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 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

Our Organization

Since 1906, The Ontario Horticultural Association (OHA) has led Ontarians in all things horticultural. Our organization is an integral part of this province’s cultural fabric.

Our Board is made up of Officers and Directors from all corners of Ontario – from the shores of Lake Ontario, to the Shield country of Northern Ontario.

Despite the differences in climate and horticultural challenges, our members all share a:

  • Love of gardening
  • Deep enjoyment in sharing knowledge
  • Commitment to preserving and restoring Ontario’s natural environment
  • Dedication to making the communities we live in beautiful, sustainable and livable

Officers and Other Roles

First Vice President
Second Vice President *New 2019
Immediate Past President
Past Presidents’ Council Rep
South & West Regional Rep
North & East Regional Rep

District Director
Immediate Past Director
Assistant Director(s)
Treasurer or Secretary-Treasurer

District Directors (19)

Autonomous Horticultural and Garden Societies
Local Members (27,000)

Key Contacts


President Sharlene Desjardins president[at]
Vice President(s) Vicky Culbert (1st)
Sandra Mazur (2nd)
Secretary Kelly Taylor secretary[at]
Treasurer Marian Heil treasurer[at]
Past President Charles Freeman pastpresident[at]
Past Presidents’ Council Shirley Daniels pastpresidentcouncil[at]
S/W Region Rep Karen Redmond oha-sw-rep[at]
N/E Region Rep Susan Ramsay oha-ne-rep[at]

District Directors

District 1
Dundas, Glengarry, Prescott, Russell, Stormont, Grenville, Gloucester and Cumberland
Susan Ramsay
District 2
Lanark, Renfrew, Central and Western Ottawa
Anne Harbord
District 3
Frontenac, Hastings, Leeds, Lennox & Addington, Prince Edward
District 4
Haliburton, Northumberland, Peterborough, City of Kawartha Lakes
Dennis Miluck
District 5
Toronto East, York Region East
District 6
Brant, Halton, Norfolk, Wentworth, Haldimand (Wards 1-4), Hamilton
Lianne Krane
District 7
Dufferin, Wellington
Kathy Bouma
District 8
Bruce, Grey, Huron
Karen Redmond
District 9
Niagara, Haldimand
Leslie Daniels
District 10
Elgin, Middlesex, Oxford, Perth
Joyce Schlegel
District 11
Essex, Chatham-Kent, Lambton
Sandra Rammelaere
District 12
Cochrane, Timiskaming, North Nipissing
Rene Roy
District 13
Algoma, Manitoulin, Sudbury
Denise Berg
District 14
Kenora, Rainy River, Thunder Bay
Sandra Mazur
District 15
Peel, York Region West, Toronto West
Doreen Coyne
District 16
Simcoe County
Barbara Collinson
District 17
Durham Region
Debi Foster
District 18
Muskoka, Parry Sound, South Nipissing

Nancy Thompson

District 19
Christine Webb



Awards Sharlene Desjardins
Code of Conduct Sharlene Desjardins
Communications Kelly Taylor
Community Initiatives, Marketing, and Promotion Vicky Culbert
Convention 2024 Vicky Culbert/Kathy Bouma, Host(s)
Donna Hussey, Registrar
Convention 2023 Anne Harbord
Convention Competitions Art: Vicky Culbert;
Creative Writing: Sandra Mazur;
Flower Show: Diane Chute;
Photography: Brad King;
Publications: Kathy Bouma; and
Youth: Lianne Krane/Karen Redmond
Conservation & Environment Sandra Mazur
Constitution, By-Laws & Resolution Charles Freeman
Corporate Report Kelly Taylor
Corporate Sponsorship and Fundraising Marian Heil
Education Debi Foster
Finance Marian Heil, Treasurer
Historian Malcolm Geast
In Memoriam Coordinator Marilyn Cox
Judging Committee Penny Stewart
Judges Registrar Sharon Nivins
Judges School Jim Mabee
Newsletter (Trillium) Laura Masterson, Editor
Newsletter Distribution Lisa De Young
Nominations and Elections Kathy Smyth
Outreach Programs Click here to see our current outreach listings
Social Media Kelly Taylor
Speakers’ List Rose Odell
Strategic Planning Charles Freeman
Supplies Rose Odell
Website Coordinator Graham Stratford
Youth & Youth Competition Chair Karen Redmond

OHA Outreach Programs


Western Fair Association Kelly Taylor
Ontario Invasive Plant Council Joyce Schlegel
District 4:
·     Peterborough Garden Show
Patty Carlson
District 5:
·     Canada Blooms, Toronto
·     Canadian National Exhibition, Toronto
·     Get the Jump on Spring, Toronto Botanical Garden
Cindy Scythes
Malcolm Geast

District 6:
·     Royal Botanical Garden
·     Hamilton Gage Park Mum Show
·     CNE

Lianne Krane
District 7:
·     International Plowing Match, Bowling Green (near Orangeville)
Kathy Bouma

Past Presidents’ Council

Prior to the 2019 convention, during the afternoon of June 29, a tree dedication ceremony took place at the Past Presidents’ Oak Grove at the Guelph Arboretum. Two Bur Oaks (Quercus macrocarpa) that had been planted earlier were dedicated to mark the passing of John Smith (President 1969/70) and Kathleen Petrie (President 2000).

The Past Presidents’ Council was created in 1964.

What is their role in the OHA?

  • The Council acts in an advisory capacity to the Board on Association-related issues. The immediate Past President serves as the Council’s representative on the OHA Executive.
  • The Chair of the Past Presidents’ Council and the immediate Past President both sit on the OHA Awards Committee. The Council currently sponsors the Frances Lemke Youth Activity Award.
  • Members of the Council take on occasional projects from time to time and work on various OHA committees.
  • They serve as facilitators in disputes when called upon.

The Guelph Arboretum

guelph arboretum logo

The Arboretum at the University of Guelph is somewhat modeled after the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University which is 100 years older. Plantings started in 1971 and are now maturing to produce a beautiful landscape, within which The Arboretum continues to develop specialized gardens, botanical collections, and gene conservation programs. Labels are maintained at the base of all woody plants in the collections that are listed on The Arboretum map.

The Ontario Horticultural Association Oak Grove was established as part of the Arboretum in Guelph in 1978. 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.


The Ontario Horticultural Association is a volunteer, charitable organization whose mission is to provide leadership and assist in the promotion of education and interest in all areas of horticulture and related environmental issues in Ontario, through an expanding network of horticultural societies dedicated to the beautification of their communities.

OHA Collaboration

The Ontario Horticultural Association appreciates the support we receive from organizations that share similar values to our own and we thank them for helping to promote the many programs we deliver across Ontario.


How do I become a Member?

Find out how to join your local Garden Society, and become part of a province-wide gardening community.