Heritage does Matter: Tree nursery, Springwater Park and, then, the Vespra Boys cenotaph

Alive communities rise to challenges.

An important article entitled Pine Forests and a Park [Word pdf] appeared in the Springwater News today.

Ruth Byers suggests how our community has dealt with big challenges. This one was the total clear-cutting of the forests in the then-named Vespra Township  and Simcoe County in the late 1800s:

In the early years of the 1900s, the Ontario Government established a tree nursery and began to distribute trees for reforestation. About the same time, E.C. Drury a farmer at Crown Hill and E.J. Zavitz, a forester, began a project to help recover the land denuded of trees. They toured the ‘sand plans’ around Midhurst and Orr Lake.

In a quote from A History of Vespra, they described one of their trips:

‘We walked across the field, and came on a spring of fresh, clean water, bubbling out of a sandy bank. The stream wasn’t very wide, but seemed to have a good strong flow.’

This was the beginning of the Midhurst Tree Nursery. And eventually, Springwater Park.

The devastation of The Great War (WWI) provoked another communal, local response,  logically centred on the tree nursery and park:

Located in Springwater Park is a cenotaph built of stone by Veterans of Vespra Township. Harvey Spence and Robert Mills did the actual construction. Remembrance Day services were held her for many years, including members from Scouting and Guiding.

How will our community respond to the current challenges to our social, environmental and cultural equities?

Originally published on iLoveMidhurst.ca on October 11, 2012.

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