I arrived about 1995 through Dan Helliwell, of a local Highland Creek clan, who was the UTSC plumber. Dan was born in a house that was swept away in Hurricane Hazel in 1954 at the Highland Creek on Old Kingston Road, as were a handful of others built too close to the water and lived all his long life in the area and worked different valley plots through his long tenure there.

Dan was definitely a character who used to tell stories about other characters like "Crazy Eric" who would come to the valley garden riding a motorcycle clad only in a diaper! Sadly, Dan passed about 20 years ago, though I didn't know at the time. Michelle, our UTSC Librarian, who also had valley plots, attended the funeral on the club's behalf. Professor Andrew Patenall took over Michelle's plots after she left and currently works her former plots. I've called Andrew's area our Showcase Garden as it is often the neatest and best organized although sometimes Professor Ken Howard's gives it a run for the Showcase. Ken's wife, Karina, took the prize in 2022, however, as her pollinator and flower garden stunned us all with its beauty.

Cathy Pickett organized the valley garden each year for many years before she retired and moved away and I know our other Eric, Professor Eric Moore of our present club, had the garden kitty corner to Dan's. Eric often suggested to Cathy that she write her memoir about her time there, much longer than mine, and it's unfortunate she didn't. Those of us who knew her all miss Cathy. I also remember Ray Skyrme and his unfenced plot adjacent to Michelle's, he often told me to help myself to his leaf lettuce and other greens that he had in abundance long before anyone else. Ray said he usually seeded in March each year!

--Jeff Brown (Community Member for 27 years)

Tales of our past

Our valley garden startup year was 1973 so the  summer of 2023, will be our 50th! In began life when I, a UTSC (then Scarborough College) faculty member, and my wife Barbara got permission to use a small corner of the abandoned vegetable gardens that used to supply the Scarborough College Principal’s residence (now the Miller Lash House). After a couple of years gardening alone with the groundhogs and rabbits, I got a few other faculty and staff members interested. With colleagues Cathy Pickett and Karen Henderson, we laid out 26 garden plots and opened it up to other faculty and staff as well as community members. It wasn’t a formal garden club at first but we were sufficiently organized to persuade the administration to provide a water supply and tool storage shed. We even had a roto-tiller! Cathy took over the organization of the garden for many years.

--Mike Bunce (UTSC Garden Club founder)

All photos and video are copyright protected by UTSC Garden Club members and may not be used without the owner's permission. These photos are all of our own gardens. No stock photos were used in this website. Website created by Jason Weir