Fryfogel Tavern


In the spring of 2010, the Foundation created a new committee - the Fryfogel Site Development Committee. The chair, Reg White, suggested that a historic change be considered for the five acre (2 HA) property.. that is the creation of an Arboretum - a collection of trees, shrubs and plants indigenous to Ontario. In light of the increasing concern we have about our environment, it is a timely project. We have asked the Stratford Field Naturalists to join us on this project so that we emphasize plants and shrubs to increase natural habitat for birds and animals.

We have been supported by the University of Guelph Landscape Architecture Department, who have offered to take fifteen or more students to the site and they will each create a design for the proposed arboretum. From these designs we will choose the most appropriate design features for our property.

This is an exciting venture, one that is ongoing and it will take years to establish. We trust that the arboretum will be an ongoing gift for future generations!

Arboretum poster

September 29th, 2014

Arboretum Gains International Recognition

Arboretum Membership

The Friends of the Fryfogel Arboretum invite the public to join us in this conservancy of our natural heritage, by becoming a member of this important project. If you are interested in becoming a member of the Arboretum, you can download the membership form here.

Financial Grants

In 2011 the Arboretum committee was pleased to announce that it had received its first financial grant from the Evergreen Foundation in Toronto. The committee also was pleased to announce that it received a grant from TD Friends of the Environment Foundation and was very pleased to receive a grant from the Stratford and Perth Community Foundation. This was a first for us, in that it is a local funding grantor. To be recognized by our community was and is very encouraging!.

It is without doubt that the most exciting grant for 2012 was the funding of our new drilled well, so essential for an Arboretum. This wonderful grant was provided by the Ontario Trillium Foundation.

The beginning of 2013 brought more good news as the Arboretum was once again honoured by the Stratford Perth Community Foundation, awarding us a grant of $1200 for the developing Arboretum at Shakespeare Ontario. This is significant in that we are recognized by our local philanthropic funding organization to whom we must thank for this recognition!

Once again we were very pleased that the TD Friends of the Environment awarded us a grant for $2500 and as well we must thank the Ontario Trillium Foundation for the second part of a two year contribution which for 2013 was $7000.

Sponsor A Tree

The Fryfogel Arboretum would like to invite the public to consider sponsoring a native tree in our new Arboretum at Shakespeare Ontario. We are willing to accept individual sponsorships (perhaps for celebratory reasons) and organizational sponsorships. As well we are willing to accept donations for Memorial trees to commemorate family members with a living legacy - a native Ontario tree. This project will include a plaque at the base of the tree which would include the family name, or organizational name and the name of the tree and the installation date.

To receive additional information, please call the Site Development Chairman, Reg White at 519-273-0952.

Definition of an Arboretum

Webster's Dictionary defines an arboretum as "a space for the scientific study and public display of various species of trees (and shrubs and plants)". Distinct from a park an arboretum is an educational conservancy promoting the awareness that the natural environment needs protection & deserves concern.

Mission Statement

The Fryfogel Arboretum seeks to engage, educate and enrich it's visitors so they may become better stewards of nature and the environment. This mission will be achieved through the care and utilization of both the historic Fryfogel Tavern and the surrounding five acre (2 HA) property now being developed as a long term Arboretum project - an on going gift for future generations!


It is our intention to reestablish those trees, shrubs and plants which are and were indigenous to our local area as well as those of southwestern Ontario such as the trees of the Carolinian Forest - that tract of land at the most southern part of the province.

Paths will be established, new trees will be planted along these paths across the property. The trees and shrubs and plants will be conserved and identified in their natural settings for study and appreciation.

We will consider additional exciting installations such as an historic apple orchard as the arboretum project moves forward. As well it is our intention to investigate how we might be involved in conservation of threatened plants of Ontario!

View the 2013 Fryfogel Tavern Swiss-German Four Square Heritage Garden Plan

2011 Commemorative Tree Plantings

In June of 2011 our fledging organization, the Fryfogel Arboretum, took its first steps. We invited a few of environmentally related organizations together with Fryfogel family members and our provincial member of the Ontario House to begin our efforts to create an awareness of the importance of our natural landscape and the conservancy of that landscape.

John Wilkinson, our member of the Ontario Government for Perth-Wellington planted the first tree. This was, we felt, a significant historic planting. Additionally we thought it was appropriately significant that three members of the Fryfogel family took part in planting a tree to commemorate their family ancestor, Sebastian Fryfogel. Glen Fryfogel, his son Randy and Randy's son Tanner all took part in that tree planting on the historic tavern site.

We were so pleased that the Manager of the University of Guelph Arboretum joined us and planted a tree, then he was joined by Joe Farwell the CAO of the Grand River Conservation Authority, who as well planted a tree.

A reception followed the historic first plantings with photographs taken to mark the Arboretums beginnings!

2012 Commemorative Tree Plantings

In June of this year we held our second commemorative tree plantings, it should be pointed out that these commemorative plantings are for the most part large trees, and unlike the smaller trees which are planted in the deeper parts of the property, the commemorative trees are marked by metal stakes and metal tree signs which tell the kind of tree, the date planted and the name of the family or organization who planted the tree.

Since Sebastian Fryfogel was a Swiss national we were pleased that the Swiss Consul of Ontario Mrs. Bernadette Hunkeler Brown agreed to join us and plant a tree to commemorate the connection with Sebastian Fryfogel, the builder of the Tavern. It was very interesting to have the Thames Valley Swiss club join us that day and provided an unusual element of entertainment in that they performed on Swiss Alp horns. The Thames Valley Swiss club were also invited to plant a tree as well.

We thought it was historically appropriate as well to have Perth County's Warden, Mr. Ian Forest plant a tree in our developing arboretum. We once again thought it was so appropriate that the descendants of the late The Honourable Nelson Monteith, who it should be mentioned was responsible for the reforestation project in the early 1900's, were on hand to plant a tree. It was so exciting to see such a large family delegation arrive for the planting by one of their family descendants! The family of the well known Dr. Bruce Halliday M.P. for Oxford County, a much respected individual in this area, joined us and Elizabeth Halliday and her family to plant a tree to commemorate Dr. Halliday and his life.

Other planters included the Ontario Trillium Foundation, who so generously funded our new drilled well - a facility obviously so necessary for an arboretum. We were pleased to have a member of the Ontario Heritage Trust in the person of Donald Pearson join us to plant a tree. The Trust connection is very important to us in that they hold for us an easement on the Tavern building and property which protects the historic property! The Fryfogel Arboretum was especially pleased to be recognized by Canada's famed Royal Botanical Gardens of Burlington in the person of Mr. Alex Henderson, curator of collections who planted a tree. During 2012, the Stratford and Perth Community Foundation provided our first local funding to support the arboretum. The funds for this grant came from the Donald McTavish Environmental Fund. Joining us in June were two family members, Mr. Robert McTavish and his brother Mr. Stuart McTavish who jointly planted a tree.

Additionally, it was with some pleasure that we were presented with funding by the Stratford Rotary Club for two beech trees. The Arboretum committee welcomed a significant gift of two cedar picnic tables from the Shakespeare Optimist Club. This addition to the property is important to encourage people to stop and visit the environmental project.

The arboretum committee is pleased that in less than 36 months much progress has been made!

2013 News

The Arboretum is so pleased to have made an exciting connection with the Swiss Club of Thames Valley. Their club, in the person of Walter Burkhardt, offered and contributed and then installed three flag poles for our historic property. The poles now fly the Canadian and the Swiss and the Ontario flags. This wonderful contribution for the first time gives the property an identification and a presence we have not had. The flying of the Swiss flag is so appropriate in that the builder of the tavern was a Swiss national.

Additionally, earlier this year we made a connection with the Shakespeare Mens Club of Shakespeare who have already contributed "on grounds work" and we have just appointed their Vice President to the Arboretum board. As well they have just built and contributed a much needed refuse container now that we have picnic tables. It is their intention to build a new back porch which will greatly improve the aesthetics of the property!