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Garden at OSSTF office remembers teachers who have passed away

Retirees group has turned 'eyesore' outside of union office into memorial garden
Lee Ferguson shows off a plaque in the memory garden remembering teachers who have passed on outside of the district Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation (OSSTF) office. (Heidi Ulrichsen/

A previously overgrown area outside of the district Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation (OSSTF) office has been turned into a garden in memory of members who have passed on.

The project was undertaken by the local chapter of the union's Active Retired Members group, which numbers about 70 people.

Lee Ferguson, president of the local OSSTF retirees, said the area now occupied by the garden used to be a bit of an “eyesore,” but it's now weeded and cleaned up, and features perennials and a memorial plaque.

She said she got the idea from another chapter of OSSTF retirees in the Niagara Falls area.

“Once you walk out of of your school, so many people you never hear about them again,” Ferguson said, adding that she wanted to do something similar to a veterans' memorial.

A dedication ceremony for the memory garden takes place Monday, Sept. 17 starting at 4 p.m. at the OSSTF office. A reception will follow. Organizers plan to toast teachers who have passed on.

People are invited to check out the garden as well as sign a memory book, sharing memories of teachers who have died.

Ferguson said she hopes the event is attended by teachers or retirees with former colleagues who have passed on, as well as family members and former students.

The OSSTF office is located at 184 Ninth Ave. in Lively. RVSP by Sept. 13 to or 705-692-3923.