North Grenville, September 26, 2023 – The Ferguson Forest Centre Corporation proudly commemorates the 25th anniversary of the Municipality of North Grenville, in recognition of a partnership that has yielded notable achievements in forestry, conservation, and community recreation. This enduring collaboration has been instrumental in transforming the Ferguson Forest Centre into a thriving hub of environmental sustainability, outdoor recreation, and education.
Carl Doucette, President of the Ferguson Forest Centre Corporation's Board of Directors, reflects on this anniversary, stating, "In recognition of North Grenville's 25th Anniversary, I would like to recognize the foresight of the Council of the day, on its decision to lease the nursery lands to the newly formed Ferguson Forest Centre Corporation."
Today, the Ferguson Forest Centre Corporation operates a social enterprise tree nursery and manages recreational and conservation lands within the Municipality of North Grenville. The organization's mission is to oversee the tree nursery, utilizing its profits to promote awareness of, and interest in, forestry, particularly afforestation and sustainable forest management. Additionally, the Corporation strives to maintain, enhance, and advocate for the responsible use and stewardship of the recreation and conservation lands under its purview, all for the benefit of North Grenville's residents.
Doucette notes that, “Over the years the Nursery has produced tens of millions of trees and seedlings and now produce native species of perennials and shrubs as well as fruit trees. With profits from the nursery and in partnership with the municipality and local organizations the Corporation provides a host of amenities in the Forest Centre for residents of North Grenville, which include 22 kilometres of walking and hiking trails, a beautiful arboretum, dog park, toboggan hill, a disc golf course and groomed cross country ski trails. The excellent support and cooperation from the Municipality will ensure the Corporation will meet its mandate for the next 25 years and beyond".”
The enduring support and cooperation between the Municipality of North Grenville and the Ferguson Forest Centre Corporation are a testament to their shared commitment to environmental stewardship and community well-being. This partnership, which has thrived for more than two decades, is poised to continue its valuable work for the next generation of this community. “The late Don Cameron, Reeve in Oxford-on-Rideau and North Grenville’s first Mayor as an amalgamated municipality, had the vision and foresight to work on behalf of North Grenville to acquire and protect this forest, which has served our community so well for 25 years. Ferguson Forest will continue to be an integral part of North Grenville for generations to come,” emphasized Mayor Nancy Peckford.
About the Ferguson Forest Centre Corporation
The Ferguson Forest Centre was first known as the Kemptville Nursery when the first seedlings were planted on farmland purchased by the Department of Lands and Forests in 1945. The nursery retained this name until September of 1949, when it was changed to the G. Howard Ferguson Forest Station to honour a past Premier of the province whose origins were in Kemptville.
The Forest Station continued to be operated by the Government of Ontario first under the guidance of the Department of Lands and Forests then by the Ministry of Natural Resources after reorganization in the 1970’s until 1995. While under the control of the Government of Ontario the nursery produced greater than 310,000,000 seedlings for plantings in Southern Ontario. In 1995 it was determined that seedling production was no longer in the mandate of the government and over the next few years all Ontario provincial government nurseries were either closed, sold or leased. The G. Howard Ferguson Forest Station stopped operating in 1995 and lay uncared for except for volunteer workers until the Township of Oxford on Rideau purchased it in the fall of 1997.
Between 1995 and 1997 there was a concerted effort by volunteer, local organization, local townships and the Eastern Ontario Model Forest to save the Forest Station. Volunteers tried to control weed conditions in the fields and meetings were held with government officials to determine if the station could be reopened or purchased. The local township purchased the property in 1997, with the Municipality of North Grenville assuming ownership at amalgamation.
In the fall of 2000 it was determined that the Forest Station would be better suited to operate separate from the township as a not-for-profit corporation and the not-for-profit Ferguson Forest Centre Corporation was created and entered into a lease agreement to operate a nursery.
For more information or media inquiries, please contact:
Chair, Public Relations and Communications Committee
Ferguson Forest Centre Corporation