Parkwood and Durham College announce new partnership

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Story and photo by Tracey Fidler

Brian Malcolm, Executive Director of Parkwood and Don Lovisa, President of Durham College shake hands in the historic greenhouses

Durham College and Parkwood National Historic Site are planting some seeds and watching them grow. Literally and figuratively.

The two institutions came together at Parkwood on Feb. 29 to announce a collaboration that will see Durham College students working together with Parkwood in a new two-year Horticulture Technician diploma program beginning this fall.

Parkwood representatives Brian Malcolm and Richard Marceau, Landscape Ontario’s Mark Humphries and Bill Slute from the City of Oshawa, joined Durham College president Don Lovisa to express their excitement regarding the new program and collaboration.

“Our mission as a college is the student experience comes first and for me that’s the core of this new partnership,” said Lovisa. “It’s two institutions coming together to preserve and to build and to provide our students with programming and job opportunities.”

Students will study on site at Parkwood with the gardening staff and at the Oshawa campus.

Lovisa added that this new program will not only help to support and maintain the green space at the college’s two locations, but also to help restore the Parkwood gardens back to their original state.

“It’s a partnership that’s terrific for Durham College, terrific for students and for the future of this community,” said Richard Marceau, the president of the Parkwood Foundation. “It’s taking the two most established organizations of this community from an education perspective, and cultural and museum perspective, and bringing them together. Durham College is deeply entrenched in this community, and so is Parkwood.”

Bill Slute, from the City of Oshawa, said there will be a great need in the municipal industry for new graduates, with about 55 to 65 per cent of employees retiring in the next five years. These graduates will become an integral part in community development across the province.

Jocelyn Shaw, the granddaughter of Sam and Adelaide McLaughlin, could not attend due to illness, but provided Parkwood curator Samantha George with some of her thoughts on the new partnership.

“As strong advocates and supporters of post-secondary education across Canada, my grandparents would be delighted that Durham College is working with their legacy and their legacy in Parkwood to foster the next generation of young Canadians,” she said. “An education in the outdoors, working on this stunning property, surrounded by Canadian history, [they] would agree it is the perfect fertilizer for nurturing the gardens of tomorrow.”