Rooted in re­mem­brance

Fam­ily sprouts a spe­cial place in Kens­ing­ton in mem­ory of Ross MacKay

Journal Pioneer - - FRONT PAGE - BY DESIREE AN­STEY JOUR­NAL PI­O­NEER KENS­ING­TON

There was a hive of ac­tiv­ity in the hub of Kens­ing­ton on Satur­day morn­ing as Jamie MacKay and vol­un­teers trans­formed a blank can­vas into a spe­cial place of in­spir­ing beauty, with fresh fruit, flow­ers and veg­eta­bles. The gar­den, called “Ross’s Place,” was es­tab­lished in hon­our of MacKay’s fa­ther who passed away on May 2, 2017. “My fa­ther was a gar­dener and al­ways loved fresh veg­eta­bles, but he passed away last year aged 81. I was think­ing it would be great to have a pub­lic gar­den in mem­ory of him, be­cause he was a big part of the com­mu­nity, so I ap­proached the Town of Kens­ing­ton and they were all for it,” ex­plained MacKay. “This area of land was pro­vided as a free lease. I then con­tacted some (lo­cal) busi­nesses to see if they could help. Kent Build­ing Sup­plies was a ma­jor spon­sor, as well as Clark In­sur­ance, and the name plates of busi­nesses that helped do­nate money and ma­te­ri­als have been put on each plot.” The grow­ing gar­den has 30 raised and six in-ground plant­ing plots, located on School Street in Kens­ing­ton. “Peo­ple can plant what­ever they want from flow­ers to veg­eta­bles. The seeds are pro­vided for free, even the tools, which Kool Breeze Farms Gar­den Cen­tre and Farm Mar­ket pro­vided, added MacKay.

“We will have a con­test be­tween Cas­tle and Kent’s gar­den plots, which will be eval­u­ated at the Kens­ing­ton Har­vest Fes­ti­val. “Any food grown will go to the break­fast pro­gram at Kens­ing­ton In­ter­me­di­ate Se­nior High School or a char­ity of some sort.” He con­tin­ued, “We have benches too for se­niors to sit and use the area like a park.” The project was kicked off in Novem­ber. “Ross was an ex­tremely gen­er­ous man and spent his life do­nat­ing and help­ing ev­ery­one,” noted MacKay. “He con­stantly vol­un­teered his time with my mother, and used their re­sources to help oth­ers, so I thought this was a good way to hon­our him. “There’s no way I could have done this all by my­self with­out the spon­sors and vol­un­teers. I hope to build more plant­ing plots as time goes on. I hope to have this place even­tu­ally full, with a nice fence around it. I would love to see it full of se­niors and kids,” he said. Sheila MacKay says her hus­band would be so “thrilled with this gar­den.” She said, “Ross had a bad fall in 2015 and was par­a­lyzed from the waist down. Be­fore that he had bouts of can­cer, but he never stopped or wor­ried about it. He never com­plained about his ill­ness or when he be­came par­a­lyzed. He was the per­fect hus­band all the way round.” The wife and son agree that friends and fam­ily will cher­ish the mem­ory of Ross ev­ery time they look to the gar­den and see the plants grow­ing, re­mind­ing them of a life well-lived.

DESIREE AN­STEY/JOUR­NAL PI­O­NEER

Leighton MacIsaac, 15 months, from back left, Dy­lynn Barbour, Bar­bie Barbour, Me­lanie MacKay, Sul­li­van Gal­lant, 11 months, and MacKayla Gal­lant, front, Sheila MacKay and her son Jamie, came with fam­ily mem­bers to hon­our and re­mem­ber Ross MacKay by...

DESIREE AN­STEY/JOUR­NAL PI­O­NEER

An­gela Benoit-Purdy, from left, Tiana Trows­dale, Paul Sul­li­van and Colton Bul­ger of the 1231 Kens­ing­ton Royal Cana­dian Army Cadet Corps, were help­ing plant the gar­dens at Ross’s Place in Kens­ing­ton. “We’re plant­ing car­rots, peas, spinach, beans, beets...

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