The exact date of the founding of the Galt Horticultural Society is in some doubt. A call to the Ontario Agricultural Museum at Milton provided no information although other local Horticultural Societies were on their records. Jim Quantrell, Archivist, City of Cambridge searched through copies of old newspapers and found references to a Galt Horticultural Society in the 1850.
The Dumfries Reformer, July 5, 1854, reported on an exhibition held by the Society in which flowers and vegetables were judged. An article from The Galt Reporter, December 17, 1865 begins in accordance with announcement, a number of gentlemen assembled together in the rooms of the Gore Mutual Insurance Company to take the necessary steps for the formation of a Horticultural Society for Galt. Mr. William Robinson occupied the chair. A committee of gentlemen was formed and it was then decided that the annual subscription be fixed at one dollar. At a meeting on May 6, 1870 a Society was established with T.M. Simons as President. Two months later a Horticultural Show was held in the Council Chamber of the Town Hall. A description of this event appeared in the July 8, 1870 Galt Reporter.
The Dumfries Reformer reports the 1st annual meeting of another version of the Galt Horticultural Society on January 21, 1892, noting that the monthly meetings had been well attended and that there were 186 members.
The meeting place of the Society has been in various places over the years, ranging from the Gore Mutual Society, the homes of members, the Dickson Area in the late 1970s and the Ferguson Cottage at 37 Grand Avenue South, Cambridge. Although the membership was not large, the members tended a large number of flower beds in the city each summer. During the 1980s this number decreased rapidly as the City of Cambridge Parks Department took over their care. By the early 1990s the Society had dreams of developing a beautiful garden around the Ferguson Cottage to enhance this monument to the early Scottish settlers.
In 1992 the Society moved its meeting place to the Lions Hall at 50 Ainslie Street North. With the help of volunteers from the rapidly growing membership the gardens have grown both in size and beauty. Funds have been raised by the Society itself and by help from the Grants to Groups, City Cambridge.
The fine roster of speakers at the monthly meetings is just one of the reasons for the large attendance. The Society also provides other activities of interest to the growing number of gardeners in the City including ˜Open Gardens" in the summer and a Dream Garden Conference during the winter.