Julie and Alan Smithson

Immortalizing Our Special Day


The Smithson couple met while both students at the University of Guelph. They professed their love for each other on a starlit walk in the Arboretum which would become the site of their wedding reception in 2002. They return often for walks in all seasons, and in a full circle moment, their daughter now attends the University of Guelph as well.
Interview by Amy Moffat, University of Guelph.

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0:00 My name is Julie Smithson, Alan Smithson and we were married here on September 28th, 2002 at the arboretum.

0:11 Well, first of all, we’re looking at a heritage tree and a, it looks, I don’t know how old it is, but it’s very beautiful.

0:19 We’re surrounded by all different types of trees.

0:22 And to our right, we have a little statue, white statue and the Japanese Gardens and the Japanese Gardens were an important part of our day because we, we got to take photos there and it kind of immortalized our, our special day in this beautiful garden and it’s all been redone and it’s beautiful.

0:41 Well, I’ll start with one thing that happened wasn’t exactly here.

0:44 It was kind of just a little bit on your way into the arboretum, but it was the day that I told my now wife, that I loved her and we told each other we loved each other looking at the stars in the arboretum.

0:57 So this was kind of, you know, our, our first time we, we said we loved each other.

1:03 And then then on Saturday, September 28th, 2002, we celebrated our marriage here with our guests.

1:12 There were about 80 friends and family that came from around the world to celebrate us.

1:19 And I remember taking so many photos that day because there wasn’t a cloud in the sky and the gardens were beautiful.

1:28 We had all of our friends and family here.

1:31 The reception was outside until it was time for dinner and we had the most perfect photos from here to Japanese Garden, to the reflection pools and even on the roof, on the roof, the arboretum roof, that’s right.

1:44 Hadn’t been together all as a family and it’s really special how weddings can bring, you know, so many family members together that wouldn’t normally be together any end of the day.

1:55 The second the clouds broke and the sun came shining in and warmed up my whole body and, you know, in the background, we can hear the fountains, both the fountains from the Japanese garden and the other garden right ahead and, you know, you can hear the trees rustling.

2:12 The breeze is nice and cool and that hot sun on my face.

2:16 You know, you can have all of this and the the smell here is, is just clean and fresh.

2:25 Yeah, it’s lovely because I, I was never taught in any of my classes that this was even here.

2:32 I found it on my own.

2:33 So I think bringing more students here to study this, I think we need more study of nature and less study of urbanization.

2:41 And I think with work from home now being kind of popular, we can let people work from anywhere.

2:48 And so they can work from beautiful green spaces and then really start to respect nature again.

2:52 And I think this is how we, but we have to come back to nature as a society because if we don’t, we end up, you know, destroying the earth completely and we need more spaces like this.

3:04 And let this be a beacon of light for everybody who wants to build a around the world.