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- The Aylmer Centennial Garden and Horticultural Society
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The Aylmer Horticultural Society was established in 1915, with a Mr. A.J. Elliott as provisional secretary. Although little information beyond the initial announcement of its formation, it continued up until the 1930s and apparently dedicated itself to beautifying the town of Aylmer through planting and maintaining garden beds. No information exists after that, but in terms of its scope and work, it appears to be a precursor for the Aylmer Centennial Garden Society.
In 1972, Dr. Bill Cresswell, then Director of the Aylmer Centennial Activities Committee and member of the Aylmer Fair Board, convinced the Board to sponsor an Aylmer Garden Club. The Board agreed and financially sponsored the club for the next four to five years, during which time Dr. Cresswell worked to properly organize the club. He was assisted greatly by Helen Penhale, who had worked for the city of Chicago as an award-winning horticulturist, and Mrs. Penhale came up with a variety of activities for its members, including garden walks, tours, plant sales, and contests. By 1983, talks began to affiliate with the Ontario Horticultural Association, which they achieved (by attaining the required 50-member minimum) in 1984. That same year, the name appears to have been changed to the Aylmer Centennial Garden and Horticultural Society, although informally it was still known as the Garden Club.
In 1996, the name changed to the Aylmer and District Garden Club, with its stated aim being “to encourage interest and improvement in horticulture” through such things as holding meetings to learn about aspects of horticulture; encouraging improvement of private and public grounds by planting trees, shrubs, and flowers; conducting contests and giving out prizes as appropriate; distributing seeds and plants; and promoting the protection of the environment. As before, they also promoted horticulture through donations to the Aylmer Public Library, and served as an affiliate of the Aylmer Fair Board.
By September 2005, the club re-established itself as a new entity, the Aylmer and District Horticultural Society, affiliated with the Ontario Horticultural Association.