The Parkwood Advantage

The first class of Durham College’s Horticulture Technician program is well underway with students benefiting from a unique partnership with Parkwood National Historic Site (Parkwood) in Oshawa.

Applying their knowledge and training in the historic gardens, students are able to hone their skills at Parkwood’s renowned 20th century gardens and greenhouses in addition to their regular schooling at the college’s Oshawa campus.

“Working on the grounds requires a level of respect for the historic qualities of the property and all the work that has gone into keeping the gardens true to their original state and design,” said Catrina Chiodo, first-year Horticulture Technician student.

Working at a historic site requires adherence to strict guidelines therefore the curriculum has been designed to ensure students are equipped with the proper techniques and methods that are unique and challenging to this setting.

Nancy Lawrence, a greenhouse grower at Parkwood for the last 17 years, is excited that Durham College has added a horticultural program based at Parkwood.

“The program affords the students opportunities to interact with the planting styles of leading Canadian landscape design of the 20th century, a unique experience when compared to other horticultural programs. Having the program at Parkwood allows the National Historic Site to further our own educational mandates, sharing heritage with the next generation”, said Lawrence.

Access to the estate’s specialty plants and collections, mature specimen trees and period research provides students with an experience unavailable anywhere else in the region, according to Shane Jones, instructor.

“A program of this nature is incredible, there is no comparison,” said Jones. “No other colleges have a partnership with a national historic site that enables students to learn in this environment and gain first-hand knowledge of what it takes to become stewards for the preservation of the past.”