Twenty-fifth Anniversary Celebration of Ecology Garden

Cobourg’s Ecology Garden was started 25 years ago by Minnie Pennell and it has since become a significant place in Cobourg for residents and visitors.  On Saturday, a ceremony was held to celebrate this anniversary and it was also a wonderful way to also celebrate the beginning of the end of the pandemic.  Given the current restrictions, attendance was monitored and the count was 95 inside the area at the west end of the Garden which was “roped off” with ribbons.  The original opening was by Mayor Joan Chalovich and she was there again on Saturday.  The garden has certainly grown over the years – it started as a 20 foot by 100 foot patch on Legion Village property, just south of their parking lot and is now considerably larger thanks to a lot of work by volunteers.

Ecology Garden
Ecology Garden

The current Chair of the Ecology Garden volunteer group is Dora Body and she MC’d the event which had more than just speeches – a Quiz, a Poetry competition, ritual blessings, entertainment and more.  Most of the happenings can be seen in the photos below.

What happened

  • As people entered, they were given a quiz – including answers – see links below.  This highlighted features of the garden.
  • The Town Crier, Mandy Robinson gave what was her first bell-ringing for quite a while then read out a description of what the garden is about.
  • Dora started with an acknowledgement that the Cobourg Ecology Garden is located in the traditional and treaty territory of the Mississauga and Chippewa Nations, who “have been stewards and caretakers of these lands and waters, and that today remain vigilant over their health and integrity for generations to come.”  [It’s interesting to note that this fits with Council’s priority on stewardship of this area – see link below]
  • Mayor John Henderson remarked on how much the Garden had grown over the years and how much work went into it.  His son had a summer job in the early days and commented to his father on how much work  needed to be done.  He wished the Ecology Garden continued success.
  • In 1996 Sister Linda Gregg of Villa St. Joseph performed a blessing of the Garden and was at the garden once again to bless it.  Or rather, to transfer the blessing of those present to mother earth (see photos below).
  • Julie, an indigenous representative from Alderville, performed a ceremony which emphasized our relationship with mother earth “she sustains us” (see photos).  (Also see below for other faiths).
  • Three triangular garden beds (called the Silver Garden) were created by the students of James Quelch, a teacher at Cobourg Collegiate Institute.  Madison Walter, was the designer of the Silver Garden and she helped install a plaque (see photo below).
  • Some of the work at the garden (“heavy stuff such as trimming trees and clearing extremely invasive species”) is done by the Town so Councillor Emily Chorley and Deputy Director of Parks and Recreation Teresa Behan also spoke briefly.  A quote from Emily:  “We are also celebrating the beginning of the end of the pandemic”.  A quote from Teresa: “We enjoy your garden as much as you do”.  As well as Emily and Mayor Henderson, other councillors were present (plus Town staff).
  • In conjunction with the anniversary, a Poetry Competition was held.  It was co-sponsored by Wally Keeler, the Spirit of the Hills Writers Group and members of the Cobourg Poetry Workshop and the entries were judged by Ted Amsden, Cynthia Reyes and Linda Hutsell-Manning.  The winners were announced by Jessica Outram, Cobourg’s Poet Laureate.
    • Student 1st: Katia Legakis – “Renewal”
    • Adult 1st: Felicity Sidnell Reid – “Daphne’s Shade”
    • Student 2nd: Hailey Richard – “Sense of Nature”
    • Adult 2nd: Marie-Lynn Hammond – “Remembering”
      Each of them read out their poems and they are included in the links below
  • After the speeches, Sister Linda planted a tree by the Water Garden that was donated by Villa St. Joseph.
  • Sister Linda then introduced a Muslim women who read a dedication. There was also a Jewish man doing the same.  Wonderful to see the multiple cultures/faiths involved.  Christian, indigenous, Islam and Judaism.
  • Greg and Susan Williams entertained with music in the gazebo area.

A wonderful, feel-good event.


Related article

Council Meeting May 10 – Council reviewed their Strategic plan and included a “top Priority” to Enhance Shoreline Management. Steward and safeguard the Natural Environment of the West Beach and Headland  – 11 May 2021

Download their poems – pdfs

Print Article: 


Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Wally Keeler
2 years ago

The Cobourg Ecology Garden is both concierge and sentry to the natural west beach. It overlooks a meadow to the south. Imagine that; in a downtown area, there is a meadow, and the meadow is officially protected as a meadow and more. It was a pleasure and honour to have worked alongside the volunteers and their great effort at expanding the turf of the garden. The Cobourg Ecology Garden is a departure lounge to the imagination. It inspires. It inspires eloquence from our community. Below are selections from the winning poets (see link at bottom of Draper report for whole poem).

But the first bud of anew opens
And all of life gathers round to see
A puff of wind, a hush unbroken
A token of all that is and all that will be.
   Katia Legakis, 1st student

Summer shadows fell upon the path today
a glorious rope of flowers and leaves
skipping over the bricks with gentle feet
   Felicity Sidnell Reid 1st adult

For better or worse
we are all given the ability to change,
the landscape that is a range of what was previously arranged due
to the exchange
  Hailey Richard 2nd student

You are the teeming jungle spangled with shards of light,
and the lap and ripple of waves
as the moonlit ocean breathes in, and out, and in.
  Marie-Lynn Hammond 2nd adult

2 years ago

I enjoy looking at this garden every time I pass by and I appreciate the amount of work involved to keep it looking so beautiful. Thank you for the feels!

2 years ago

John so right – feel good event, in the Feel Good Town. Wish there were more of these events, and participants; would be role models for the rest of the world. Congrats to this committee.

2 years ago

Feel safer walking down there now after the Big Police Bust the other night
over the weekend .

2 years ago

My favourite spot in our Ecology Garden is the discarded bath tub sunk into the ground in a shady spot and repurposed to find a whole new life as a little pond.

It even has a family of guppies in it to consume any mosquito larvae that might hatch there from mosquito eggs.