Lucky number 100

By Jessica Dempsey

October 11, 2017 1:28 PM

Village of Kitscoty Coun. John Scott and Vermilion-Lloydminster MLA Richard Starke planted the 100 lilac as part of the 100 Lilia Project at Centennial and Heritage Parks. Jessica Dempsey/Meridian Booster

The plan was to get 100 lilac bushes planted at Heritage Park in Kitscoty, and the team has surpassed their plans.

On Oct. 4, Village of Kitscoty Coun. John Scott saw his goals met with the 100th lilac planted at the park.

“It was something I didn’t expect to go as quickly as it did, but the people and the various nurseries that I’ve contacted and the private collections have been very supportive,” said Scott.

What originally started in 2014, has evolved into an even bigger project than first projected.

The lucky number 100 lilac is called the Little Lady lilac.

“In 2011 we had celebrated our 100 anniversary, so I thought in commemoration of that, we will go for the 100,” said Scott.

A woman from British Colombia gave them the first four lilacs, and since then, people have been sponsoring the bushes brought in, which have come from all over the country.

“Where ever we could find one we didn’t have, we snapped them,” said Scott.

“The first year we got around 40 … from there we have a whole mixture of different places we have got them from. So, it’s evolved over these years.”

Scott said the lilac bush has special meaning, especially with celebrating the history of the village.

To bring the lilac bushes in, every single one of them was sponsored by companies, families and just about anyone. Some sponsoring as far away as England.

“It goes back to the early days. You can find old homesteads where there are lilac bushes, and I think it was a popular plant to have around because it had nice blossoms, nice fragrance, and so I think people like the idea of having a lilac with their name on it,” said Scott.

Throughout Heritage Park, each bush is identified with a plaque and has the name of the sponsor below.

“People have been very supportive of the project,” he added.

It was 2010 when the start of the Centennial and Heritage Parks Project was first started by Scott, and since then, the project has continued to grow.

“I’m actually quite surprised,” said Scott. “When I first presented the total project in 2010 I gave them a very long term in which we would carry out the development, and we aren’t finished by any means, but we have made significant progress with the two parks.”

The support from the community, council, and government grants have made the project possible.

“All of those things have helped us to proceed faster than I had envisioned,” said Scott.

When the project was first started, Scott said he had hoped the parks would be more than just walking paths.

“I wanted it not only to be recreational, but I wanted it to be educational. So, the trails are the recreation, the lilacs simply add to the ambiance of the walk, and then the plaques I have here, I have researched about 30 the pioneers,” he explained.

With the 100 lilac bushes planted, Scott said it wasn’t necessarily the end of the project.

“People keep contacting me wanting to sponsor a lilac,” he said.

However, he noted he won’t be spending as much time trying to find the lilacs like previous years.

“We reached the goal, from now on it’s just if people will find them for me, people will sponsor them and we will put them in the ground somewhere,” said Scott.

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