Hort Society set out to make Creemore the prettiest village in Canada – and did

 In Opinion

A number of years ago, the well known magazine, Harrowsmith, declared Creemore one of the prettiest towns in Canada. The founders of Creemore Horticultural Society would be proud to know that.
The report of the society’s founding in an April 1921 Creemore Star stated that it was “to encourage among our citizens the love of flowers, shrubs, to hold exhibitions from time to time and to make Creemore the prettiest village in Canada and to encourage among the citizens the love of well kept lawns, clean streets and beautiful gardens.”
The initial and very enthusiastic first meeting was held in Jake Hisey’s office, now the 100 Mile Store. Jake Hisey was a driving force behind the society. He was an avid gardener. His peonies still grow and bloom each spring at the south west corner of Mill Street and Johnston Street.
Jake Hisey was the first president. Other members of the executive were B. T. Ferguson, Mrs. Coleman, Dr. Denne, Miss Murray, Mrs. J. A. Carlton, H. M. Corbett, , Mrs. Bryce, Rev. A. L. Alton, J. C. Jackson, A. Scarrow, J. M. Hood, Wes Johnston, J. R. Lawrence, M. McArter, and Fern Hinds.
The first flower show was held August 29, 1921 in the Matchett House Sample room now part of 176 Mill Street (Water First). Particular attention was given to the beautiful display of Jake Hisey’s gladioli. The society had distributed  begonia tubers and their display was excellent. Ed Norris won first prize.
Flower shows continued each summer with much competition among the members. A beautiful silver trophy was donated by Jake Hisey to be given to the best display of a designated  group of flowers. Mrs. Harry Dickenson of Cashtown won it in 1927. She subsequently won it two more times and was allowed to keep it. The trophy is now in the hands of this writer, Helen Blackburn.
In 1926 the society took on as a project the beautifying of a piece of land owned by the Canadian National Railways (CNR) adjacent to the station. In early spring the surface of the soil was levelled and grass seed sown. CNR donated suitable shrubbery and plans were underway for flower beds. By September the society received compliments on the attractiveness of the CNR park.
Creemore was well underway to be the prettiest village in Canada.

Helen Blackburn is a retired teacher, avid gardener and a long-time contributor to the Creemore Echo. She writes about local history.

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