Canada 150 Celebrations get underway at Oldcastle Heritage Park

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Canada150_wellwoodsby Adam Gault

Many Canada 150 celebrations have began to take place around Essex County as the weather improves and the big July 1 celebration nears.

On Thursday, May 11, a special tree planting ceremony to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday took place at the Oldcastle Heritage Park, located behind Tecumseh Fire Station # 2 off of Walker Road.

The event, sponsored by the Sandwich South Historical Society, featured a tempting Canada 150 birthday cake and fire truck rides for the little ones. As well, the original Sandwich South council table and chairs, in remarkable condition considering their century and a quarter age, were on display.

Wendy Cunningham, the Chairperson of the Sandwich South Historical Society, spoke about the importance of the ceremony’s location.

“(The planting) It’s right in the heart of Oldcastle. Being the heart of the community, it draws people in. Especially as it’s near the site of the original (Sandwich South) town hall,” she explained.

The ceremonial planting holds a special meaning not just for Canada’s 150, but also for the Sandwich South Historical Society, as members prepare to celebrate the club’s 20th anniversary in the coming year.

As the ceremony began, two families, with strong historical ties to the area, oversaw the planting.

The Wellwood’s are now in their seventh generation of descended from original settlers, and the Dowdy’s still reside on their original pre-Confederation farm not far from the Oldcastle Heritage Park.

The Dowdy family farm has had its share of history in of itself. The farm was part of the original land petitions of Upper Canada, and was given to the family as a Crown land grant.

The two families were chosen as local representatives to highlight the continued family and strong historical ties that have kept people connected to the area for generations.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, Cunningham thanked the Tecumseh Fire Rescue Service and Tecumseh Town Councillor Tania Jobin for their support in the organization and hosting of the ceremony.