(On June 24, 2022, Lee Boltwood Park was officially named to recognize the years of dedicated volunteer activity that Lee Boltwood has provided to Stittsville. Mayor Jim Watson officially opened the park, along with Councillor Glen Gower. L-R: Lee Boltwood, Mayor Jim Watson, Arlene Rowe, Judith Cox-President of the Stittsville Goulbourn Horticultural Society, and Councillor Glen Gower. Photos: Stittsville Central)
In 1965, Lee and Paul Boltwood were married. One year later in 1966, Lee and Paul left their beloved home province of British Columbia to set off in a new direction and their new venture in life. Paul, a computer systems engineer, was recruited by Computing Devices of Canada (CDC). They made their new home in Ottawa.
On June 24, a new park was aptly named after Lee Boltwood to recognize her many years of generous participation in our community since her arrival in Stittsville. With a large crowd of family, friends and colleagues in attendance, Mayor Jim Watson and Councillor Glen Gower led the unveiling of the park plaque with speeches of honour and congratulations. Councillor Gower expressed, “thank you to everyone who are here to celebrate Lee’s accomplishments and contributions to our community!” Thanks were also extended to Penny Horeczy for putting forth the park’s proposed name. The Lee Boltwood Park is located in the Abbottsville Crossing neighbourhood of Stittsville.
Judith Cox, President of the Stittsville Goulbourn Horticultural Society, emphasized Lee’s involvement in the community and to the horticultural society overall; and the fact that the most important facet of Lee was her ‘generosity’. “She is generous with her volunteer hours, sharing plants and providing advice to fellow gardeners.” “Her generosity stands out for me and I am so honoured that she has been given this gift of a park in her name,” Judith shared with the audience.
Arlene Rowe has been instrumental in leading the planting and maintenance of the garden in preparation for the official naming ceremony. “The horticultural society has chosen the Lee Boltwood Park to be their ongoing community project“. Arlene has worked tirelessly organizing volunteers, the species of plants required and dedicatedly was present on Saturday mornings to weed, plant and maintain the flower beds. The park includes a pollinator garden in the smaller of two flowers beds, daffodils and a pathway crossing the berm for children to enjoy as they see the flowers in the beds. This spring, the Society planted hundreds of donated drought tolerate and native plants.
It was time for Lee to say a few words. “I am so truly pleased to see how many people are at the park naming today. When it was initially postponed, I thought, oh more time to get my garden in. It is quite special to have my sister, Pat, here with me. I am very honoured to think of this park in my name and I want to thank all of the horticultural members for their hard work over the months to prepare it for this unforgettable day. Thank you Mayor Watson and Councillor Gower”.
Growing up with four sisters (of which Lee is the eldest) in New Westminster, B.C, Lee’s parents Alex and Claire Kennedy, taught the girls to be strong, frugal and speak their mind. A trait Lee continues to this day. Graduating from St. Ann’s Academy, Lee worked for a short time as a maid, then enrolled in a secretarial course from which she was hired at the University of British Columbia in the English & Philosophy Department. Hence her knowledgeable responses to questions covering any topic.
From 1971 to 1973 and prior to settling down in Stittsville, Paul was seconded to work on a contract with the US Navy in Bermuda. Their first daughter, Alana Megan, was born in 1972. As a young mother, Lee experienced a life style somewhat different to the vacation image of the island, as they lived in several temporary homes and her most vivid memory is of the cockroaches!
Returning to Ottawa, the couple looked for the opportunity to carry out their major interests – Lee in gardening and Paul with long-range plans for an observatory – and found a bungalow with two acres on Main Street in Stittsville. They also found time to have a second daughter, Bronwyn Grace, in 1979.
Lee’s interests were down-to-earth and in 1986 she earned her Master’s Gardeners’ qualification when the province recruited and trained knowledgeable volunteers to assist home gardeners. Lee continues to be found at Master Gardener booths providing advice at the Carp Farmers’ Market, Richmond Fair and Experimental Farm to name a few; attending and giving lectures; and, responding to telephone queries when people seek her sage advice. She was a member of the founding committee of Friends of the Farm and volunteers diligently on behalf of the Experimental Farm.
Her passion for gardening lives in her backyard. Lee sees her garden as her refuge, where she combined her interests in environmental sensitivity, with cultivating fruits and vegetables – “Things you can eat!” she exclaims. Through the years when Paul was alive (he sadly passed away in September, 2017), she had to adapt her garden plan to take into consideration Paul’s observatory, that had contained a powerful 16” Newtonian telescope and a mass of supporting instrumentation.
Since her arrival in Stittsville, Lee has constantly and consistently been involved in our community to help create and build upon the many organizations that exist today. She was a member of the founding committee to bring a library to Stittsville; a member of the Parents’ Council that began the child care services at the Goulbourn Middle School; is a lifetime member and Board Director of the Stittsville Goulbourn Historical Society where she has put her incredible sewing skills to work spending countless hours creating hundreds of period costumes (some still stored at the Goulbourn Museum) and provided advice on the authenticity of the costumes (a thorn in her side if not exact to the era!); she is a Board member and lifetime member of the Stittsville Goulbourn Horticultural Society – in 1986-87, Lee had been President and has served in various positions since then.
For those who know Lee well, as this Editor and family are so fortunate to do, you know she is very frank and not reluctant to express her opinion. Her opinion makes up for her stature of 4’9″, but one can always rely on her solid advice on gardening, history and life experiences. Lee is well-respected for her fortitude, care of the environment and simply, being Lee.
Stittsville is that much richer for the day when Lee and Paul bought those two acres and decided to make our once small town their home.
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