Frank Calder Memorial Historic Gardens



Yellow Loosestrife


 In 2000, the idea to create a “Historic” Garden was approved by the Pictou County Historical Society Board of Directors. Frank Calder, a Pictou County Historical Society Board Director, and the Founder and organizer of the Historic Garden, engaged and supported this project. The clearing of the site at the Carmichael-Stewart House Museum began, seeds were planted, and the first plants donated were transplanted. 

Over the next eight years, Frank Calder supported work on the garden. The year 2005 was coined ‘the Year of the Garden’, as extensive work was done to clean, maintain and augment the Historic Gardens. A major donation of over 100 plants for the Historic Garden was given by Captain Richard Steele, of Bayport Plant Farm, in memory and honour of his son Richard Arthur “Dick” Steele who passed away in 2000. A plaque honoring Richard Steele was created and mounted onto a concrete stand in the Historic Garden 

Sadly, in December 2008, there was the death of Frank Calder. In 2009, the Board of Directors approved a committee to oversee and implement any ideas and future expansion of the garden, the Frank Calder Memorial Historic Garden with the criteria that the integrity of Frank’s vision of using only plants in existence in the same era as the museum (house built in 1880) was maintained. All plants the garden are species native or found in Victorian gardens that were grown in 1900 or earlier. 

From 2009 through to 2022, countless volunteers, summer students, and board members have enhanced and maintained the garden with occasional donations and minimal financial assistance. In 2021, the Historic Garden Committee of the Museum was re-established and new volunteers engaged; however, the Covid-19 pandemic limited volunteer mobilization and activities to maintain the garden.

In the Spring of 2022, the Board supported the costs and packaging of seeds collected from the garden that were distributed during the summer season. The Town of New Glasgow supported a late Spring clean-up and mulching of the front garden beds. In September 2022, Hurricane Fiona caused damage to the Museum tree and plant loss in the garden and on adjourning properties and to the garden arbor and the Steele family memorial plaque.

The Garden Committee mobilized, creating a presentation to give to the Board and the Town of New Glasgow in 2023 about the Memorial Historic Garden, an update to the history of the garden began to be researched and written from digital records (2000 to 2022), and a plan to revitalize the garden and for fundraising was drafted.

In March 2023, “A History of the Frank Calder Memorial Historic Garden” was distributed, and a presentation on the Garden was made to the Board and the Director of the Town of New Glasgow Community Development. A Lunch and Learn was held with the Community Development Advisory Committee on revitalizing the garden and a plan moving forward.


Black Eyed Susan

Damask Rose


Let Them Eat Cake

The “Let Them Eat Cake” Fundraising event on June 24th, 2023, at Glasgow Square, was a great success. All proceeds went to the Memorial Historic Garden revitalization. The Town of New Glasgow generously supported this event, as did countless individuals and businesses through their donations of cakes and items for the silent auction, and through purchasing event tickets.


Volunteers with their interest and support now continue to work to restore the garden to its previous glory and to enhance and maintain the garden for the public to enjoy and visit. It is hoped that community engagement and interest in visiting the gardens or using the gardens for events such as wedding pictures can also result in an increased interest in the museum, in the generation of funds, and in the public’s enjoyment of the gardens. 

Garden Revival

The Historic Garden Committee with their new volunteers was active organizing a fundraising event and a major Spring clean-up of the garden. The Town of New Glasgow Community Development Team stopped by to aid the Garden committee volunteers and board members in a large garden cleanup on May 30th giving the Historic Garden some much needed love and to help in its revitalization. 

Photo Credit: Town of New Glasgow

Seedy Saturday

Garden Committee members packaged seeds, created a photographic show on the Historic Garden and attended Seedy Saturday where they sold seeds to raise funds and increase exposure and showcase the Museum and its Gardens. 

Photo Credit: Town of New Glasgow