The Ferguson Forest Centre was established in 1945 by Ontario’s Department of Lands and Forests (renamed the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources in 1972). Begun as part of the province’s accelerated reforestation program, it was then known as the G. Howard Ferguson Forest Station, honouring a man who had devoted great time and energy to the fledgling concept of sustainable forestry.
George Howard Ferguson (1870-1946) was born in Kemptville and became a member of provincial legislature by 1905. He was appointed as Minister for Lands, Forests, and Mines in 1914, and then served as Ontario Premier from 1923 to 1930. In all posts, Ferguson was committed to forest conservation, promoting “sane and modern methods of timber conservation” and working to “develop our forest wealth along lines of perpetuating its possibilities.”
For fifty years since it’s inception, the G. Howard Ferguson Forest Station was owned and operated by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. However, in 1995 the Province closed the nursery and sold the tree seedling production land to the Township of Oxford on the Rideau in 1997.
Then, in 2000, a non-profit corporation known as the Ferguson Forest Centre Corporation (FFCC) was formed which leases the seedling production land from the Municipality of North Grenville. The FFCC continues to produce seedlings to supply the demands of private landowners, forest industry as well as numerous other agencies for large and small planting projects all over southern and eastern Ontario.