Hancock Woodlands is officially open

Hancock Woodlands, the historic property and former commercial nursery originally owned by Canadian horticultural industry pioneers Leslie and Dorothy Hancock, is officially open.

The four-acre property, acquired by the City of Mississauga in 2010, features maturing rhododendron, azalea and mountain laurel all sharing space with native trillium, trout lily and mayapple beneath a tall canopy of ancient white pine, oak, beech and hemlock. The city has added a natural playground, unique tree garden, urban orchard, walking paths, perennial and ornamental grass displays. The property is also home to the Ecosource Hancock Community Garden.

Mayor Bonnie Crombie, members of council, members of the Hancock family and Friends of Hancock Woodlands attended the official opening on June 10. As part of the celebration, children helped plant several native Ontario flowering plants to create a bee and butterfly garden, a project funded by the Cloverleaf Garden Club. Hancock Woodlands is located at 2151 Camilla Rd.

The Hancock family received international acclaim for their contributions to landscape architecture and urban planning. From 1923 to 1927, Leslie was a horticulturist at a university in China. He met Dorothy Macklin there in the hospital built and operated by her father. They married in 1924 and, three years later, were driven from the country at gunpoint after the National Revolution. They moved to Guelph, where Leslie taught at the Ontario Agricultural College from 1932 to 1943.

In 1931, the couple purchased a 10- acre Mississauga property, a portion of a large farm that was being divided into small holdings. During the Second World War, the couple helped some Japanese-Canadians avoid the rigours of an internment camp by hiring them to live and work on their garden property. Over the years, the rough, unploughed swampy pasture and scrub bush were gradually developed into a nursery, producing ornamentals for use in landscape projects. In 1972, Leslie founded the Rhododendron Society of Canada.

Friends of Hancock Woodlands Facebook page photo

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