The soil at John H. Coulter Park is once again rich with plantings by Coulter’s descendants.
Approximately 15 family members and their children went to the East Kildonan park on May 25 to plant three Starlite flowering crabapple trees near the commemorative rock by the Timberline Drive entrance. Members of the Eaglemere Residents’ Association also attended the ceremony.
"My family was gardeners their whole life — (the tree) flowers in the spring, and in the winter, birds can eat the berries," said Coulter’s granddaughter, Linda Kullman, who grew up on the land now occupied by the park. She said her family owned the land, known as Lot 81-84, for 70 years.
In addition to the trees, the family planted some Coulter rhubarb, which Kullman said was named the reddest and sweetest in Canada by the Royal Toronto Fair in the 1930s.
Kullman had been working on getting the trees planted for approximately two years, as she faced delays trying to get MTS and Shaw to tell where she could safely dig. When that details was firmed up, she was unable to get the variety of tree she was hoping to plant, but things eventually came together.
"We wanted to go ahead with it this spring, and they were having beautification at Eaglemere, so that was a good opportunity to do it," she said.
Eaglemere Residents’ Association (ERA) secretary Regena Rumancik said the park has not had any improvements since its opening, and she’s glad progress is being made at the site.
"They’re a wonderful commemoration of the roots of our area," she said, noting the ERA didn’t have any direct hand in planning Saturday’s event. "(On Saturday), there were a couple of little kids, probably three or four, with little shovels, and they were in there planting with the adults.
"You could feel that there was respect for their roots."
The Coulter family has been at the heart of several community organizations, as John H. Coulter helped form Carter Avenue Presbyterian Church, which eventually became Grey Street United Church. His sons then later helped form Gardener Sales, which morphed into the Vegetable Marketing Commission and later, Peak of the Market.
Coulter’s son Jim petitioned to have a park named in the family’s honour and in 1993 the 6.5-acre park was named for him.