Shagbark Hickory / Who was Marie Curtis? Feb 12, 2022

There are not many Shagbark Hickory trees in our area as we are at the northern limit for this species.

Shagbark Hickory (Carya ovata)

There is one in the forest at Marie Curtis Park and I like to show it to TDSB walkers.

Black Cherry and Shagbark Hickory trees

Today’s group with Shagbark:

Shagbark Hickory grows on rich moist soils mixed with other broad-leaf trees.

Carya ovata (Shagbark hickory)

This species is the main source of edible hickory nuts and is an important food for squirrels. It produces the best quality hickory wood.

Shagbark Hickory nuts (photo:
bowl made with Shagbark Hickory (photo:

Park scenes:


Some birds:

metal bird on feeder
Common Goldeneyes
Common Goldeneyes
American Tree Sparrow
Common Goldeneye (male)
Red-breasted Mergansers
American Tree Sparrows
Common Goldeneye (male)
Common Goldeneye (female)
Ring-billed Gulls
Red-breasted Merganser (female)
Ring-billed Gull
Red-breasted Merganser (female)

Retired Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion recalled of Marie Curtis: “If you
wanted a job done, call Marie… When she was active, I was just a junior in
local politics and I always admired her and had great respect for her.”

A newspaper headline stating that seven teachers had been fired prompted
Curtis to begin her life in activism and public service. She was elected
president of the local Home and School Association and was successful in
bringing kindergarten classes to the school. She began to attend local
council meetings to learn more about the business of politics. In 1952, she
learned that the position of Deputy Reeve was being filled by acclamation
because the incumbent had no competition; Curtis decided to run against
him and won. It was a testament to her popularity in Long Branch that she
continued to be re-elected until she retired in 1962.

Marie Curtis

Although she was a popular figure in Long Branch, it was on the newlycreated Metro Council that people beyond her community began to learn
more about Curtis. She was the first woman to sit on the powerful executive
committee with Metro Chairman Fred Gardiner. She has been described as
having politics that were both populist and conservative. After the
devastation of Hurricane Hazel, Curtis assisted homeless victims to
relocate and a new park was created where their homes had once stood.

The thirty-five acre park at the mouth of Etobicoke Creek, which she helped
to create, is named in her honour. There was discussion at the time about
what the name of the park should be. According to Curtis’s daughter Joan
McGee, “First they were going to call it Curtis Park… then [former Ontario
premier] Les Frost told Fred Gardiner that they would have to call it Marie
Curtis Park, because there was only one Marie Curtis.” (from:


Thirty days has September,
April, June and November.
Unless a leap year is its fate,
February has twenty-eight.

But all the rest have one day more,
Excepting January,
Which has six thousand,
One hundred and eighty-four.                     – Brian Bilson

Miles Hearn

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