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  • Vermilion Voice

Kitscoty’s 100 Lilacs

From left, John Scott and MLA Richard Starke both helped plant the 100th Lilac variety in Kitscoty’s Heritage Park on October 4.

Photo Angela Mouly

Geese flew overhead, and visitors from as far as England attended as MLA Richard Starke planted the 100th lilac bush in Kitscoty’s Heritage Park on October 4.

According to John Scott, Parks and Recreation Committee Member, the area had once been a brown field zone and past sanitation disposal site that has been reclaimed as a green area for the community.

“Small communities either sink or swim and creating a sense of community and providing services are essential,” said Scott.

The project began to fulfill a past councillor's dream of having walking trails encircling the community. Also, people can now walk, read historical plaques describing urban and rural community pioneers, and enjoy the seasonal aroma of 100 lilac varieties. Kitscoty’s Heritage Park was officially opened in July, and the community plans to continue adding to it with washroom facilities and activity stations.

Scott’s favourite lilac in the collection is a Common Lilac that was collected from a cutting from the lilac given by an Onion Lake Mission member to North West Mounted Police sergeant of the barracks that were near Onion Lake from 1886 – 1920.

“These projects have provided a large benefit for children to be able to ride their bicycles safely on the paths, and provide people an opportunity to get away from traffic with early morning walks or afternoon picnics,” said community member, Shirley Scott.

Couples from Ontario and Red Deer had recently travelled to tour the park and discuss the history of the project, and sponsor one of the lilacs, Daniel Richardson from England, appeared at the 100th planting. Other sponsor areas include Vermilion, Lloydminster, Cold Lake, Wainwright, Edmonton, and Calgary.

“The support is tremendous and brings a larger community together having ownership in the park,” said John Scott.

“We’re very down to earth people here. We will give it that tender, loving care from year to year with the help of volunteers and town staff to make Kitscoty a stopping off and destination point through these and other projects besides park developments,” said John Scott.

“To have collected 100 species is a real statement of the amount of work done here and something you can be very proud of; to provide an area of sanctuary that is so beautiful and will be enjoyed by the community and visitors,” said MLA Richard Starke.

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