Rosemère opens community gardens for planting enthusiasts
Rosemère Mayor Eric Westram, town councillors and SHER members are seen here on May 27 during the planting of the first of more than 600 trees in the woods behind Externat Sacré-Cœur.
Martin C. Barry

Some green spaces in Rosemère that have been informal play areas for generations of local children have been chosen as the future sites of community gardens as well as for a tree planting project undertaken by the town in conjunction with two schools.

A beautiful setting

Mayor Eric Westram and members of town council joined staff from the Externat Sacré-Cœur on May 27 on the grounds of the school for the launch of the community gardens project, a short distance from where the town will also be planting new trees.

The two projects are part of an agreement reached between the town and Externat Sacré-Cœur, as well as Val-des-Ormes School, to allow gardening enthusiasts to grow fruits and vegetables. A $30,000 investment is being split between the town and the schools. In addition to the areas at Externat Sacré-Cœur, ten raised planting beds in front of Val-des-Ormes School will give ten families the opportunity to experience gardening.

Brings back memories

For Westram, being at Externat Sacré-Cœur was a bit of journey back down memory lane. “It’s a school I know well because two of my daughters who are now grown up attended here, and I used to play soccer in the gym,” he told a gathering of officials from the town and the schools.

The community gardens’ planting beds, which will be made in the community woodworking workshop, will be accessible after school hours until June 23 and then all day long over the summer holidays. There will be 24 gardening spaces set up on municipal land behind Externat Sacré-Coeur that will be made available to the public. For each space, a Rosemère family will be paired with a student.

Intergenerational project

“These community gardens have come to life because of the partnership and wonderful collaboration that has been established between the town and both schools,” Westram added. “And because they are located on opposite sides of the town, they will be easy for residents to get to.”

Denyse Hébert, head of Externat Sacré-Coeur, was delighted by the news. “Not only will this project allow people to grow their own fruits and vegetables, the garden plot at our school is a compelling example of intergenerational cooperation, pairing our students with local families,” she said.

Rosemère residents who are interested in taking part in the community gardens initiative are encouraged to call the Recreation Department at 450-621-3500, extension 7380. However, only a limited number of applications will be accepted so don’t delay.

Rosemère opens community gardens for planting enthusiasts
Rosemère’s mayor, several town councillors and others are seen here on the site near Externat Sacré-Cœur of the new community gardens.

Revitalizing the woods

At the same time, the town announced a partnership between biologists and residents Michel Leboeuf and Réjean Dumas, Externat Sacré-Coeur and the Société d’horticulture de Rosemère (SHER) to plant 625 trees and shrubs to revitalize the wooded area around Externat Sacré-Coeur. A video montage was also shown, demonstrating how forests on the North Shore have been steadily shrinking from urban development over the past decades.

“The Sacré-Coeur woods are a true ecological treasure,” said Michel Leboeuf. “They are home to a stand of bitternut hickory, a type of tree that is increasingly rare, accounting for only one per cent of the forest cover in Quebec. It is one of the most complex ecosystems in the province in terms of the variety of flora and fauna.”

The first round of planting is set to take place on June 8 with local residents and SHER members. When school starts back after the summer break, students will be given the opportunity to get their hands dirty and help with a final round. They will then be asked to keep close watch on how everything grows.

Proud of Rosemère’s trees

“We are very proud of our trees in Rosemère,” said Westram. “In fact, they’re one of the things we are known for. When Michel Leboeuf came to us with the idea to revitalize our urban forest, we did everything we could to make it happen. And all of our project partners shared our enthusiasm.”

“For the many students who will be involved in the initiative, it is a symbol of their commitment and their hope for the planet,” said Denyse Hébert. “Our school is thrilled to do our part for the environment.”

Residents who wish to plant trees on Saturday June 8, can sign up on the town’s website or call the Recreation Department at 450-621-3500, extension 7380. But, again, it is important to hurry, since places are limited to a maximum of 30.