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Meet the Horton Family

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HORTON TREE FARMS began in 1961 when Professional forester Keith Horton, teacher Joy Horton and their three small sons moved to the Original farm in Vandorf - part young Scotch Pine plantation and part Maple forest. By 1963 they had developed the property in to a Conservation Area with ponds, nature trails and a hand-operated maple syrup operation for home use. For the next 42 years the family devoted themselves to tree planting - millions of seedlings for Government, private owners, and on their own land. They purchased sand dunes and abandoned farmland and restored them to green, highly productive Christmas Tree and Landscape Stock plantations. Today the family owns and operates over 300 acres on 5 farms near Toronto.

HOW WE GREW

From the beginning we welcomed private groups to share our love of nature and gradually a year-round Outdoor Education Program began for School Groups. As the Christmas Tree harvest began, we opened to the public more and more. We were basically the first to open a cut-your-own plantation-grown Christmas Tree program. Many friends who have visited the farms over the years now return with their children to cut their tree or enjoy a spring day in the Sugarbush and remember old times. Many also recall the 17 years when we operated the aging apple orchard across the road as the first pick-your-own activity.

Today we estimate that over 1 million visitors have shared our programs. Meantime the family also grew. The three brothers, Hal, Bert & Brian all dedicated themselves to professional tree farming, and live on the various farms with their wives and children - all involved in planting more trees. From the day we plant our seedling until it becomes a Christmas Tree, it takes 10 years, so we are "in it" for the long run.

In 2003 we opened our newest family farm on Kennedy Road - just two miles north of our Original Home farm. This 40-acre parcel has been farmed continuously for 140 years - first by the Lehman and then Cleland families and we are proud to carry on the tradition. In 1975 we participated in Scotch Pine planting on the sand dunes of this property and are now delighted to see that many still survive. We have extended the plantings to cover the entire acreage with a wide variety of species. In the process of restoring the ancient barn we have discovered many century-old, hand-made tools which we will develop into a pioneer museum.

Our customers tell us that what they enjoy the most about their visits is the warm welcome they receive from the many Horton family members and friends who assist us throughout the year. Remember, if you did not cut your tree, we would be unable to plant two more in its place, so we look forward to seeing you this year and for many years to come.

-- The Hortons

  GALLERY:
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Two of the grand children Hal Horton Brian Horton Bert Horton Son on Tractor
Two of the grand children. Hal Horton. Brian Horton. Bert Horton. Family at work.

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