Millennium Memorial Rose Garden

Planted and maintained by our members, located at
Southshore Community Centre
205 Lakeshore Drive, Barrie, ON L4N 7Y9

During the late summer of 2021, the rustic wooden Obelisk had to be removed from the rose garden. It had been the centerpiece of the garden for 20 years.                                                                

Fortunately for us,  a local Barrie company, Springwater Mobile Welding and Fabrication, was able to create a striking wrought iron Obelisk which was installed in the rose garden in late April 2022.

The new black Obelisk has added beauty and drama to an already picturesque garden.

After their organization in 1980, the Huronia Rose Society members sought a location to establish a rose garden of hardy Canadian Roses.

In 2000 as a Millennium project, under the leadership of President, Mr. Ray Ramsay, the Millennium Memorial Rose Bed was created as a gift to the city of Barrie and an educational project to promote growing Canadian bred roses.

The city donated and prepared the garden. Members donated the cost of 28 roses in memory of loved ones . Volunteers of the society are responsible for the planting and continued care and maintenance of this garden.

The rose garden is sited on the south shore of Kempenfelt Bay, beside the beautiful conference centre, South Shore Community Centre.

The location is ideal in that it is in full sun, but at the same time is open to the breezes that come across Kempenfelt Bay. Some winters there has been considerable die back. Without fail, the Canadian hardy roses bounce back and are always in bloom by mid-June.

Thanks to HRS’s volunteers the garden is maintained, with pruning, watering, fertilizing and spraying. A monthly schedule is drawn up for these tasks and a weekly schedule in the peak blooming time to deadhead and clean up the fallen petals. From the beginning an environmentally conscious approach was taken to care for and maintain this display garden. By 2015, choosing hardy roses which are disease-resistant has made the volunteer’s tasks much easier. A minimal amount of insects are present. Come September, the deadheading is discontinued, to allow the shrubs to slow down growth in preparation for winter.

Roses planted initially, were William Baffin, Jens Munk, John Davis, John Cabot, Morden Centennial, Morden Blush, Winnipeg Parks, Morden Ruby and there is another new addition, Aurora Borealis. In following years Champlain, Hope For Humanity, Emily Carr, Morden Sunrise, Navy Lady, Campfire and Oscar Petersen were added. Originally, the city staff prepared a large sign listing those family members in whose memory the roses were planted. This sign was replaced some years later in a more permanent format.

Two Emily Carr roses were planted in 2012 in memory of Wendy Caldwell-Halkewycz and Robert Horlings.

2 Campfire roses were planted in memory of Audrey Miller and Robert Boyes in 2016.

In 2018 a sign in memory of Reta Caldwell was placed by a Champlain rose (Reta’s favourite colour of roses.) Reta was one of the founders of the Huronia Rose Society.

In 2003 a dry stone wall was built around the garden with assistance from the city Parks staff, which enhanced the appearance and prevented water run-off.

The following year one of the members built a cedar obelisk, which looks quite fitting between Morden Centennial and John Davis roses.

In 2006, a cedar display stand was placed at the edge of the rose bed to hold a Guide to the Rose Garden, giving the names with picture of the roses planted in the garden. Two holders for our promotional book marks allowed the public to make themselves aware of our activities, welcoming them to our meetings. Over time it became too damp due to rain, so was removed. Instead, to allow visitors to know the names of the roses they are looking at, a metal sign was created with the garden plan and names of each rose. This is mounted below the large sign beside the garden. It has been updated as of 2019 as more roses were changed or added .

The City of Barrie Parks staff continues to assist the society by supplying and spreading compost as well as erecting snow fencing around the bed to hold the snow in place over winter. In 2018 extensive renovations took place in the area and an underground water line was installed by the city Parks, connecting a tap just outside the garden to the main water line nearby. Then in 2019, a watering system was installed right in the garden and the roses are watered automatically. For that feature HRS is truly grateful.

This garden became a reality and continues to delight all who pass by. It is in a parkland setting with adjacent walking / biking trails. As the volunteers work in the garden, they continue to get many compliments from the public and questions about growing roses. Sometimes it slows the work down somewhat because of the many admirers of the roses. We value this contact with the public, always inviting them to our events, giving advice if it is asked, sharing the good news that it is very possible to grow roses successfully “North of Toronto”.

Revised Feb. 2020