The idea of a Memorial Garden was first put forward by Dorothy Kayser at the time the Fund Development Committee were drawing up a wish list of things people would like to see done around our church. No immediate action was taken, but in early 1994 the Session asked Frank Koldewijn to investigate the possibility of such a garden being constructed at the northwest corner of the church property near the northwest exit from the sanctuary.
When it became clear that proceeding with this development was feasible, the Thursday Morning Men’s Club began to discuss the matter with considerable enthusiasm. By mid-1994 the Session had asked the Men’s Group to take on the task of developing the Garden. The first contribution to a Memorial Garden Fund was made by Carol Smillie as a birthday gift for her father, Bill Partridge.
Allan Calderwood of Laredo Construction was invited to give some advice about how to proceed. A plan was drawn up and received the group’s approval. Other landscape contractors were invited to submit proposals for the construction of the garden. By the end of 1994 the proposal for the garden was ready to be taken to the congregation and at the Annual Meeting in 1995 the congregation gave approval.
The Men’s Group continued to discuss how to proceed with the project and particularly how to finance it, but decided to hold off on further efforts while the congregation was involved in the St. Andrew’s Hall Capital Campaign raising funds for Lennox House. Then late in 1995 Allan Calderwood met with the group again and proposed that the work on the garden might be done in stages. The Men’s Group liked this idea but were still uncertain about proceeding.
In the meantime, after research done by Norval Dutcher, a set of protocols for the use of the Memorial Garden was drawn up. These were submitted to the annual Meeting along with a revised plan for completion of the project in 1996. The Thursday Morning Men’s Group committed various sums of money to the project to get it started. A contract for the garden project was given to Allan Calderwood, who had offered attractive financing. The first phase of construction, the installation of the sidewalk and patio, was completed in March.
Volunteer labour helped with phase two of the project. Duane and Jeannie Lucas, Ryan, Darren and Shawn Lucas and Duncan Telford, Jennifer Martin, Matthew Hartley, Andy Dawes, Ian Shepherd, Wilf Morgan, Bill Stuckey, Bill Strong, Bruce Strong, Danny and Pam Burns, Richard Sand, Erik Sand, and Collene Sand all helped with the digging and sifting of soil for the planted areas.
Many items associated with the Memorial garden are gifts. The fence was supplied by Bert Thomas of Northern Building Supply, with the financial assistance of Crofton Manor, who paid half the cost. The wrought iron fence and gate at the parking lot entrance are a gift from Eunice and Alan Scoble, the Memorial Book and Stand, a gift from Finlay and Dorothy Morrison. The two benches were placed as an express of thanks to Bob and Jean Reid and the Men’s Group. Several gifts of money have made it possible to bring the project to completion and Laredo Construction finished the job of sodding and planting the Garden area.
This project was a happy task for the Thursday Morning Men’s Group who expressed their appreciation to all who helped to make the Memorial Garden a reality. The Garden was dedicated by Rev. Richard Sand on Sunday, 16 June 1996 at the morning service.