ContactSite Map
of Membership
Annual Report
Join Us
Judging and Shows


Custom Search

Ontario Horticultural Association on Facebook

Follow gardenontario on Twitter

Home > About OHA > Organization > History

OHA - From Then to Now

One Hundred Years of Achievement

Before Incorporation


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


Agricultural Fair was established in Toronto York.


The first Horticultural Society in Ontario was formed in Toronto


Provincial Agricultural Fair became Canadian National Exhibition.


Agricultural Society became Ontario Department of Agriculture and Land




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



The Ontario Horticultural Association helped restore many abandoned cemeteries.


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.


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


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



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.


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.


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.


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

1950 - 1979



OHA assisted with highway beautification by planting trees.


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


Promoted the Royalty Crab as the Canadian Centennial tree.


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


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


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


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


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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


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


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.


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.


OHA Centennial Year


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


© 2004 Ontario Horticultural Association
Privacy Statement | E-mail the Webmaster.