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Welcoming Garden

Contributed by Shawna Macivor

Thirty-five years after Owen Sound’s ‘new hospital’ was built on the east side of town – the link between human health and nature is finally being brought to life on the property.

Retired physician Victoria Thompson has understood this connection for years. She was delighted to read a few years ago about the newly established volunteer group NeighbourWoods North and its leaders, Lloyd Lewis and Gord Edwards, who envisaged the hospital grounds as a healthy nature-scape. They had persuaded the hospital executive to allow them to plant trees on site as their group’s first project.

Victoria, a member of Grey County Master Gardeners, was inspired to hear about the tree planting at the hospital grounds. The group approached Lloyd to ask if they could do anything to help.

As it happened, Lloyd and Gord had consulted initially with Paul Brydges, a landscape architect, who volunteered his time and expertise to wander the grounds with them and make some suggestions. They discussed the creation of a perennial garden at the hospital’s main (admitting) entrance, where a little forlorn plant-deprived island sat surrounded by roads.

Lloyd and Gord were happy to hear from the Master Gardener’s group and pointed Vicky in the direction of such a garden. She set to work recruiting experienced gardening volunteers from NeighbourWoods North: Krista McKee, Mayda Palcic-Reid, Adrian Hussey, Michael Jeavons and Brendan Mulroy.

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Tree Spree Continues

With the mild fall weather to date we have been able to continue caring for the trees at the Owen Sound Hospital.  Join us on Saturday mornings from 9 to about noon to mulch, transplant, wrap, trim, and more. 


Small Oak Tree


Fall Foliage


Brendan Mulroy


High Bush Cranberries


Gord Edwards


New England Asters


Lloyd Lewis


Incorporating established trees into the planned path

All photos by John Dickson with the exception of the New England Asters by Meg Dean

Year to Date

Dry Yellow Leaf


  • Welcoming Garden completed with the exception of an art installation which is in process and the addition of more bulbs this fall.

  • Planted 80 to 100 seedlings in the Forest of Hope & Healing.

  • Completed a mulch path in the north section of the Forest of Hope & Healing to enable better viewing and maintainence access to young trees.

  • Initial planting of Habitat Gardens south of the helipad.

  • Instrumental in instigating the city of  Owen Sound to apply for Tree City of the World status with the able assistance of Shawna MacIvor.

  • Successfully negotiated with Hospital Administration regarding parking lot expansion in order to retain forest area to west.

  • Met with the new Grey County Manager of Climate Change Initiatives in which naturalizing properties adjacent Grey County Administration building and Lee Manor were discussed.

  • Met with representatives of  the Nature Based Solutions group, a subcommittee of the Georgian Bluffs Climate Action Team to discuss their initiative to establish Tiny Forests in Georgian Bluffs area. 

  • Fundraising yard sale raising over $2000 held.

Still to Come

  • Get trees ready for winter with weed whacking, mulching, and collars as needed.

  • Move young  & smaller trees and shrubs south ofthe parking lot as necessitated by parking lot expansion.

  • Work with JCO Tree Farms to move larger trees from expansion area and several from Telford Creek Development to other locations on Hospital property.

  • Purchase and plant new trees as affordable.

  • Excavate pathway in hospital helipad area, adding berms and crushed stone for wheel-chair accessibility.

  • Continue tree planting in the fall, augmenting the Forest of Hope & Healing and adding to the Healing Path trees.

  • Continue working with the City of Owen Sound to become a Tree City of the World. 

Reclaiming Nature with Urban Forestry

Hospital Parking Lot Expansion

The administration of the Owen Sound Hospital has determined that additional parking is needed at the hospital.  After some discussions with the administration that clarified the needs, wants, and vision for the naturalization of the hospital property by the volunteers at NeighbourWoods North, the Hospital Administration decided that expanding the main visitor parking lot 40 to 50 meters south would be the least intrusive option while still accommodating additional parking.

While this option did save some mature trees in other areas of the hospital, it will require NeighbourWoods North to transplant some trees and shrubs planted last year near the still to be built Healing Path south of the parking lot.  A few of the newly planted trees are large enough that they require professional assistance in moving them. JCO Tree Farm will be hired to move them.   Volunteers will be moving the smaller trees and shrubs. The Hospital Administration is requesting we have all the trees and shrubs moved by October 12, so NeighbourWoods North will be calling upon some of our volunteers to help with the labour.

In addition to transplanting, the expanded parking will also require some replanning of the Healing Path in that area.  There will still be a natural feel to the Healing Path south of the parking lot but the width of the natural area will be narrower.