St. Clair College horticultural student Tyler Ross will be the latest landscape steward of Windsor's Mackenzie Hall, a building constructed in 1855 by Alexander Mackenzie, Canada's second prime minister.
Ross is the recipient of a $5,000 scholarship provided this year by the Windsor Port Authority in partnership with The Friends of the Court, and he will work alongside City staff to ensure the landscaping around the property is befitting of the treasured landmark.
The City of Windsor Parks and Horticultural departments, Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 82, St. Clair College Horticulture Program, The Friends of the Court and Windsor Port Authority are coming together to make this project a reality.
"This multi-level partnership is a win on so many levels: for Tyler, for all those involved in Mackenzie Hall, for our residents who cherish our history and for visitors to our community," said Ward Councillor Fabio Costante. "On behalf of the City Council, I commend everyone here for their role in helping keep these grounds in their showcase quality."
"The pride that our landscape horticulture students have in their handiwork is equalled by the pride that St. Clair College takes in making contributions of this nature to our community," said St. Clair College President Patti France. "And we're thrilled to be joined this year by the Windsor Port Authority as we work with The Friends of the Court to beautify this centrepiece of west Windsor."
Sandy MacDonald is the professor of horticulture at St. Clair College and says Tyler will do a tremendous job: "Mackenzie Hall's unique historical and locational positioning makes for a great opportunity for a student to practice and hone their skills. We always seek a diligent, keen student with a great work ethic. Our consideration is also someone who can work independently and troubleshoot small issues as they occur. A student with a good demeanour who can communicate well with the public and individuals involved will add to their successful summer work program. This year's student, Tyler Ross, exhibits all these characteristics and is positively considered within our department. His excellent work, both practically and academically, is widely recognized. We have great confidence in his abilities to complete this opportunity and go on to a successful horticulture career."
The horticulture scholarship began in 2016 when The Friends of the Court indicated a need for more attention to the aging property; ivy was encroaching and overwhelming the building, and Virginia creeper was smothering bushes and trees. The issues were brought under control between existing City resources and the addition of the horticulture student, and the area has never looked better.
"We are thrilled to enable St. Clair students to get hands-on experience while at the same time beautifying this historic landmark in Sandwich," said Windsor Port Authority's Steve Salmons. "Our partnership with the City of Windsor, St Clair College and The Friends of the Court is another example of building community together."
Also acknowledged at today's event was Tim Hortons. The longstanding community supporter has covered the scholarship in past years and added to the property shade with a tree planting in the fall of 2020.