About Us

Our History

The Georgian Bay Garden Club was started in 1990 by six women, all enthusiastic gardeners, two of whom were also Design and Horticulture Judges. The impetus for establishing a garden club came from Mim Cady, who returned from an overseas posting to discover that the Owen Sound Horticultural Society, of which she had previously been a member, had folded. The time seemed right to start a garden club, something that she was familiar with from her many postings in US cities. Helen Skinner, a Past President of the Garden Clubs of Ontario, and Dodie Wesley, a Past President of the Garden Club of Toronto joined this inaugural meeting to provide suggestions and guidance in forming a garden club.

No grass grew under the feet of the six founding members. More members were recruited; decisions were made about meeting dates and locations, programs, finances and committees structures. The aims of the club were established, and finally a constitution was written.

In June of 1991, the newly minted Georgian Bay Garden Club (now twenty members strong) joined the Garden Clubs of Ontario.

As the decade unfolded membership increased, as did the members’ ambitions. In 1997 Club members decided to establish a large public garden, later christened the Garden-on-the-Bay, situated between the Bayshore Community Centre and the waters of Georgian Bay. This project required site approval from the City of Owen Sound, the hiring of both a landscape architect and a contractor, plus a great deal of money. The Garden-on-the-Bay was officially opened in June of 2000, as the Club’s millennium project.

In the late 1990s the Club undertook the seemingly hopeless project to eradicate or severely curtail the rampantly invasive purple loosestrife that was choking the wetland shores of the Sydenham River flowing through Owen Sound.

Under the auspices of the University of Guelph loosestrife eradication project team, loosestrife-eating beetles were acquired and two Club members (and volunteers) were instructed in how/where to release the beetles, and to move them on to new areas should the eradication work. The beetles flourished and within a couple of years most of the loosestrife was basically gone from the Sydenham River, and beetles could be moved to infected areas elsewhere.


To encourage knowledge and love of horticulture
To encourage knowledge and love of floral design
To encourage civic planting and beautification
To encourage responsible stewardship of the environment

Community Outreach Projects

The Garden-on-the-Bay is currently lovingly tended by 26 Club members; it is a source of pride for them, and a source of enjoyment for visitors to stroll through or contemplate from a bench.
Recent additions to this public garden include an elegant Butterfly Sculpture by metal artist Skot Lawrence commissioned by one of the Club founding members, Mim Cady, and unveiled in October 2022.

In May 2023, more art was installed in the garden: three bronze, life-sized, anatomically correct native amphibians by Andrea Legge were installed on stone work, to be “discovered” by garden visitors.

In addition to on-going maintenance of the Garden-on-the-Bay, current Club
community outreach projects include:

Annual planting of seasonal urns to grace the entrances of both the Tom Thomson Art Gallery and the Owen Sound Public Library.
Annual financial support of the Canadian Mental Health Association Community Garden.
Annual donation of prize money for the Floral Design and Horticulture sections at the Owen Sound Fall Fair.
Annual donation to the City of Owen Sound for the city beautification program of flower boxes and planters in the downtown area.
Annual award of a bursary to a Grey-Bruce student pursuing post-secondary education.

Fundraising Projects

To support these community outreach projects, the Georgian Bay Garden Club undertakes a number of fundraising projects annually:

A combined plant sale and bake sale is held on the May Holiday weekend at the Harrison Park Community Centre.
In mid-November the Club presents a sale of one-of-a-kind Christmas Urns made with seasonal greens, enhanced with natural materials in gold, silver, red and white.
In alternate years a Garage Sale is held.
Bus tours are also presented from time to time to areas of horticultural interest.

Photo Gallery of Our Projects

Contact Us

Interested in joining the Georgian Bay Garden Club of Owen Sound, or need to contact us for any reason? Use the form below and we will get back to you very soon. Thank you for visiting our website.
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