Murray Woods

The Origins of the OAC ’56 Park in the Garden


Murray Woods graduated from the OAC in 1956 and he chaired a committee of fellow alumni to fundraise $50,000 for an Arboretum Park in the Graden. They well exceeded that amount for a total of $86,000 and the result is a variety of tree species with accompanying dedication plaques. Murray discusses how proud he feels about the bonds and the legacy he and his classmates created.
Interview by Amy Moffat, CTS*3020 student, University of Guelph.

Listen to more stories:
Changing for the Better
A Space of Happy Beginnings
Guelph Wellington Master Gardeners


0:01 I’m Murray Woods, a member of the graduating class of OEC 56 and that was back before the campus became the University of Guelph.

0:11 You may have wondered how and why there are so many.

0:15 We see 56 plaques on the trees in this area.

0:19 Wow.

0:20 When our class was approaching its 45th anniversary in 2001, we were looking for a project where we could tangibly show our appreciation for the education received.

0:32 Doctor Alan Watson, director of the arboretum challenged our remaining 66 class members to raise $50,000.

0:41 And then this new park area including 13 specimen trees would be known as the O ac 56 park in the garden.

0:53 These specimen trees would each display an individual o ac 56 plaque and a thoughtful quotation.

1:02 Those classmates who donated $5000 have an individual tree in plaque.

1:08 We actually raised $86,000.

1:11 So some small plaques can be found on benches and arteries.

1:17 So I invite you.

1:18Yes, I encourage you to stroll tree to tree in this park and read the quotations.

1:25 You will find them pleasant and calming and, but I’m very familiar with the, I read them because I live so close as I walk here almost daily of the projects that were considered.

1:41 I think you almost unanimously, this was a positive, a positive choice.

1:47 And it’s because because it’s something that is growing, it’s something that that lasts.

1:55 It’s something that happy and proud to have your name and class associated with the it’s a, I guess each, for each of anniversaries that we were, we were came here with the class and we got pictures taken over by the gazebo and, and with the hierarchy of the, of the university, everyone has been a proud moment, proud experience.

2:29 And it seems too that the feedback that has come to us from our staff.

2:40 So I guess it’s any time I enter here, it’s a joy for me.

2:48 Thank you for listening and enjoy your visit in this wonderful arboretum.