Grand Old White Oak Tree Stand

The Grand Avenue Tree Stand is a designated cultural heritage resource under Section IV of the Ontario Heritage Act and includes the significant white oaks reflective of the area. Historically, the area was considered an ideal gathering place for its scenic beauty and the variety of mature trees which provided shade. Many of those trees can be found today in the original settlement areas, lots and park spaces and help to define the unique character of the Grimsby Beach community today.

Location: 10 Grand Avenue, Grimsby Ontario
Heritage Designation: 10-40
History of the Site

The Grand Old White Oak Tree Stand is situated within the recognized territory of the Anishinaabe (Anishinabek Nation). The area around this park has a rich history beginning with the Indigenous peoples who have inhabited the land, now known as Grimsby Beach, since time immemorial. Covered in old growth forest, characterized by towering White Pines, majestic Oaks, strong Black Walnuts, sturdy Maples and many other Carolinian species, the area was rich in local wildlife. The huge centuries-old trees created a sense of awe in everyone who saw them.

In the mid 19th century, during the summer, Grimsby Beach became the site of a Methodist campground where people gathered to hear various preachers. Over time, tents were replaced with colourful cottages, many of which can still be found in the area today. As the years passed, the area evolved into a popular summer recreation area that featured a hotel, amusement park, casino dance hall and many other entertainments.  Today, the area is a quiet residential zone with only a small part of its original forest remaining.


Protection and Renewal

The Town of Grimsby Heritage Advisory Committee recognized the significance of the Grand Old White Oak Tree Stand as a remnant of the original old growth forest and its historic importance as part of the Ontario Methodist Campground. In June 2010, it became the first natural heritage feature to be designated by the Town of Grimsby to be of cultural heritage value under the Ontario Heritage Act. Unfortunately, in April of 2011, a major windstorm toppled 16 mature trees and fatally damaged the 350-year-old oak the park was named for.

Citizens working with the Town began creating a new plan for the park which included a pavilion that's roof paid tribute to the design of the former Methodist Temple, replanting of native tree and shrubs that support local wildlife and a native plant pollinator garden. Wood from the fallen trees was salvaged for use at Southward Park's Community building and to make benches for the park. As well, the pavilion was built and tree planting took place but not all plans for the park's revitalization were fully implemented.


Continuation

In 2022, the Grimsby Environmental Network, the Town of Grimsby, Ontariogreen Conservation Association and Sean James Consulting and Design collaborated on a new plan for the park that would fulfill the original vision. The first step was to remove invasive plants like Black Locust and Japanese Knotweed that had invaded the park. The second was to design two native plant gardens that feed local pollinators, birds and other wildlife. These were planted in the fall of 2023.

Future work will include planting more of the native trees, shrubs and flowers that are absolutely critical to support local biodiversity. The goal is not only to create a beautiful natural public space for people to enjoy and learn from, but to also provide future generations with the same sense of awe past generations felt when looking up, up, up at the amazing canopy of old growth trees.


Pollinator Gardens

The Grand Avenue Tree Stand is a designated cultural heritage resource under Section IV of the Ontario Heritage Act and includes the significant white oaks reflective of the area. Historically, the area was considered an ideal gathering place for its scenic beauty and the variety of mature trees which provided shade. Many of those trees can be found today in the original settlement areas, lots and park spaces and help to define the unique character of the Grimsby Beach community today. More information on the species planted in the pollinator gardens below:

Evergreen/Conifers
Botanical NameCommon Name
Juniperus horizontalis Creeping Juniper
Perennials
Botanical NameCommon Name
Achillea millefolium Common Yarrow
Agastache foeniculum Anise Hyssop
Anemone virginiana Thimbleweed
Aquilegia canadensis  Wild Columbine
Asclepias incarnata Swamp Milkweed
Asclepias tuberosa Butterfly Milkweed
Caltha palustris  Marsh Marigold
Coreopsis lanceolata Lance-leaved Tickseed
Echinacea pallida  Pale Purple Coneflower
Eutrochium (formerly Eupatorium) maculatum Joe-Pye Weed
Fragaria virginica Wild Strawberry
Gaillardia aristata Blanket Flower
Geranium maculatum Wild Geranium
Geum triflorum Prairie Smoke aka Grampa's Wiskers
Iris versicolor Blue Flag
Lobelia siphilitica Great Blue Lobelia
Lupinus perennis Wild Lupin
Mertensia virginica Virginia Bluebells
Monarda didyma Scarlet Beebalm, Oswego Tea, Red Bergamot
Monarda punctata Spotted Beebalm, Horsemint
Penstemon digitalis Foxglove Beardtongue
Prunella vulgaris Healall
Pulsatilla vulgaris (formerly Anemone pulsatilla) Windflower
Pycnanthemum virginianum Virginia Mountain Mint
Rudbeckia hirta Brown-eyed Susan
Silphium laciniatum Compass Plant
Sanguinaria canadensis Bloodroot
Solidago juncea Early Goldenrod
Symphyotrichum oolentangiensis Sky Blue Aster
Vernonia noveboracensis (or V. missourensis) New York Ironweed
Verbena stricta Hoary Vervain
Viola canadense Canadian Violet
Grasses and Grass-like Plants
Botanical NameCommon Name
Panicum virgatum Switch Grass
Sorghastrum nutans ' Sioux Blue' Sioux Blue Indian Grass
Sporobolus heterolepsis  Prairie Dropseed
Bulbs and Corns
Botanical NameCommon Name
Allium cernuum Nodding Onion
Vines and Espalier
Botanical NameCommon Name
Clematis virginiana Virgin's Bower

Photo Gallery: Grand Old White Oak Tree Stand will appear here on the public site.

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