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Morgan Park

Morgan Park

The Markham Horticultural Society was founded about 1920 with the mandate of beautifying the Village. The Society hosted an annual flower show and competition, arranged lectures, encouraged the improvement of private lawns, perennial borders, and shrubbery, “for which Markham is fast becoming famous,” and was responsible for the creation of (Railway) Station Park. In 1923, the Dominion Horticultural Council granted Markham Village official status as a Rose Demonstration Plot and Council permitted the Markham Horticultural Society the use of the north half hectare of Morgan Park as a rose plot. In April 1924, the Markham Rose Test Plot was planted with the newest, rarest and best varieties of roses from “many of the leading rose growers in England, Ireland, Holland and the United States.” More than a 1,000 rose bushes were expected to be set out that spring and more in the fall. The growers were interested in having new varieties tested in the Markham climate and shown to the public. The success of “Markham’s Rose Garden” was described in the Markham Economist and Sun on June 27, 1935:

With Markham’s Rose Garden a mass of bloom, the usual interest in this beauty spot is being taken by visitors and town people generally. Lovers of flowers and shrubs find in this well arranged and well kept garden a very great source of attraction while an occasional hour spent there affords much pleasure.

The rose garden soon attracted thousands of visitors. When King George VI came to Canada in 1939, an oak tree was sent from England and planted in the garden.

A bandshell was erected in the park for evening concerts performed by the Town band. Tennis courts, a bowling green, playground equipment, and a lighted ball diamond for minor baseball, softball, and ladies slow pitch were also added. In 1957, the rose garden was dismantled to make way for the Lions Club swimming pool that continues to be open during the summer months.