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Thursday, June 12, 2014 at 12:34 am

Butterfly bench dedicated at Batavia Peace Garden

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Peace Garden

Friends of the Batavia Peace Garden dedicated a new bench -- a bench with the wings of a butterfly -- Wednesday afternoon.

The steel was laser cut by Oxbo International, of Byron, and the welding was completed by Barone's Welding, of Batavia. Paint was supplied by Mosman's and the Melody Barbeau Family, of Florida. The painting was completed by Old World Collision.

Pictured above, front row, Carol Grasso, Bernada Scoins, Barb Toal, Rob Barone and Steve Merritt (Oxbo).

Barb Toal making a dedication speech.

The bench from behind.

Carol Grasso's new puppy liked the bench.

Saturday, May 10, 2014 at 11:45 pm

Photos: Eye-catching hats at the Fabulous Females awards dinner

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, fabulous females, Peace Garden, YWCA

Town of Batavia Supervisor Greg Post was among several people attending the Fabulous Females awards dinner at Terry Hills tonight attired in hats that would put Kentucky Derby patrons to shame.

This year's honorees were Loren Penman, the Blossom Award, Elizabeth Myers, the Petal Award and Hannah Durham, the Seedling Award.

The dinner is sponsored by the YWCA and the Friends of the Batavia Peace Garden.

Beth Allen

Martha Bailey

Jeanne Walton, director of the YWCA, and Barb Toal, with the Peace Garden.

Joan and Greg Post

Betsy Grasso, Beth Grasso, Carol Grasso and Lorraine Nolan.

Saturday, May 3, 2014 at 2:11 pm

Photo: Spring flowers planted at the Batavia Peace Garden

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Peace Garden

Alex Wallace, Rachel Curtine and Angie Hennessey were among the volunteers this morning at the Batavia Peace Garden helping to plant spring flowers.

Saturday, May 4, 2013 at 10:25 am

Photos: Flag raising at the Peace Garden

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Peace Garden

Batavia and Le Roy Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts and the American Heritage Girls Troop NY0146 in Le Roy participated this morning in a flag raising at the International Peace Garden.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013 at 9:33 pm

Innovative Community Contribution of the Year Award: Friends of the Batavia Peace Garden

post by Alecia Kaus in batavia, business, Chamber Awards, Peace Garden

This is the first of a series of articles we will run over the next three days highlighting the winners of the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce awards for 2012. The awards gala is Saturday evening at the Clarion Hotel.

When Barb Toal went on a sightseeing trip to Rome, Italy, with her sister six years ago, she sat in a beautiful garden across from the Colosseum to rest for a few minutes. At the time she had no idea what the garden was, only that it was a wonderful peaceful spot to sit and take a break.

Fast forward two years later to 2009.

Barb is sitting in the living room of Paula Savage, president of the International Peace Garden Association, who is trying to convince Barb to help set up an International Peace Garden commemorating the War of 1812 in the City of Batavia.

As the two women sat discussing the project, Paula had a laptop on the coffee table running pictures of International Peace Gardens from around the world. Barb froze when she saw a photo of the beautiful garden she remembered sitting in a few years earlier on her trip to Rome.

After scrolling through a few more of Paula's photoss, Barb recognized another garden she visited the following year after her trip to Italy -- in Dublin, Ireland.

"It's pretty ironic. I've been to two of them now. This is a no-brainer. I gotta get involved," Toal said.

Being president of the Holland Land Office Museum at the time, she thought this would be good use for the vacant land to the east of the museum and a good way to bring more people in to visit the Holland Land Office."This is a great fit, a perfect fit," Toal thought. The idea was now planted.

She then solicited the help of longtime friend Carol Grasso. The two have been friends since ninth grade and both graduated from Pembroke High School together.

"I just knew I had to be a part of it," Grasso says.

"This community, we knew since we were little, would come together to make this happen," Toal added.

Armed with seven solid volunteers, the group now referred to as "Friends of the Batavia Peace Garden" went to work. After four years of meetings, fundraising, and solicitations, they were ready to make the garden a reality.  

Running into many obstacles along the way, the project had to be accomplished one day at time. The electric wiring and digging through the base of Walnut Street and the old bridge was a stopper.

"After the electric meeting we were whipped. We thought, 'we can't do this and it's not gonna happen,' Toal said. It was like climbing a mountain, I slipped went down 10 notches then had to go up another 10 again." She said she learned a lot about patience over those four years.

Toal said they knew what they had to do, but had no money. It was amazing how the community came out to help. There were 15 landscaping trucks in the prime season that showed up and volunteered to revamp the once-barren land.

Martin Dilcher, of Dilcher's Excavating, who nominated the group for the award, was driving by the work in progress one day and spotted Barb using a jackhammer. She was making her way through layers of old buildings and solid rock to create a 5-foot hole in the ground for the electric and base for the globe. Dilcher yelled out to her, "What are you trying to do kill yourself ?" Dilcher showed up at 9 a.m. the next morning with a backhoe to help out.

When Toal needed someone to make the giant metal globe she turned to her neighbor Rob Barone who is a welder. He didn't know what she really wanted.

Toal made a trip to BJ's Wholesale and purchased a glass globe in a box and showed it to Barone. She also handed over a few pictures of one located in the Town of Lima. Barone then solicited the help of Patrick Waite, and together they created the globe that is currently on display at the Garden.

According to Grasso, "There were a lot of ups and downs. We didn't think we were going to make it, especially moneywise, but we did it."

She says people can't wait to help out and fund-raise now.

The Friends of the Batavia Peace Garden will be holding their third annual fundraiser dinner to be held at Terry Hills April 27th. They are planning a fashion show and are honoring Joe Gerace and Carolyn Pratt this year.

May 11th they will be having a birthday party and celebrate by raising the 23 flags for the year. It will be a community day from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Everyone is welcome to come out and join in the festivities.  

The Batavia Peace Garden commemorating the War of 1812 is stop number 13 of 25 on a 600-mile trail that runs through Canada and the United States. Batavia became the rallying point in the War of 1812. British forces burned 200 homes in Youngstown, many families then relocated to the Batavia area to take shelter.

Three more gardens were added to the trail last year. All are located in the Thousand Islands region of New York State. Brussels, Belgium, will be the location of the next garden. It will be created in 2014.

Toal says the group has plans on expanding the Batavia Garden in 2014. They want to extend the grounds to include the area behind the Genesee County Courts facility near the falls of the Tonawanda Creek. They will add more flags and possibly a gazebo.

Toal, who is now retired, says she is more busy now being president of the Friends of the Batavia Peace Garden. She says, "It hasn't been a hard road, just a long road to get to this point."

"To think what we've done in a couple of years, it's humbling to think we got this award," Grasso says. "It's was worth every drop of sweat that we had. All the hard work, the back-breaking digging. It's amazing."  

Anyone interested in buying a brick or path stone can contact Barb Toal at 585-344-2548 or e-mail her at btoal@ rochester.rr.com.

The group also has a new Web site, bataviapeacegarden.org.

Photo by Howard Owens. From left, Barb Toal, Mary Ellen Wilber, Carol Grasso, and Berneda Scoins.

Friday, December 21, 2012 at 9:50 am

Memorial set up for Newtown victims at Peace Garden

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Peace Garden

Press release:

As a nation, grieves the Batavia Peace Garden provides a place of solace where Batavia citizens can visit to lament their feelings of sadness for the fallen angels of Newtown, Conn., a community very similar in size to that of Batavia.

Barb Toal, project manager for the Batavia Peace Garden, commented that “with so many people in our community touched by this terrible sadness it just seemed like the right thing for us to do. When events like this happen you just feel so helpless and you need a place to go to express those feelings”.

Over the next few days, Friends of the Batavia Peace Garden will be hanging pink ribbons through the trees at the Peace Garden in honor of the 20 slain children and six teachers who perished last Friday.

Residents and visitors are invited to drop by the Peace Garden. The temporary memorial will be on display in the glass covered kiosk at the Peace Garden in Paolo Busti Park adjacent to the Holland Land Office for the next several weeks.

Saturday, July 28, 2012 at 10:48 am

Chance to meet Frederick Douglas descendant at Batavia Peace Garden on Sunday

post by Daniel Crofts in batavia, events, local history, Peace Garden

As part of an interstate tour focused on the history of the anti-slavery movement in the Northeast, 16 educators from California and Kenneth Morris, the great-great-great grandson of abolitionist Frederick Douglass, will come to Batavia's Bicentennial Peace Garden around 3:30 pm on Sunday.

The Friends of the Batavia Peace Garden, the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce and the office of the County Historian are planning an afternoon of educational entertainment that includes refreshments and costumed reenactments. It is free and open to the public, but people should bring their own chairs.

The Peace Garden is located at West Main St. in Batavia. It is right next to the Holland Land Office Museum, which is at 131 West Main St.

Event Date and Time

July 29, 2012 - 3:30pm - 5:00pm
Saturday, July 28, 2012 at 10:34 am

Chance to meet Frederick Douglas descendant at Batavia Peace Garden on Sunday

post by Daniel Crofts in announcements, batavia, local history, Peace Garden

As part of an interstate tour focused on the history of the anti-slavery movement in the Northeast, 16 educators from California and Kenneth Morris, the great-great-great grandson of abolitionist Frederick Douglass, will come to Batavia's Bicentennial Peace Garden around 3:30 pm on Sunday.

The Friends of the Batavia Peace Garden, the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce and the office of the County Historian are planning an afternoon of educational entertainment that includes refreshments and costumed reenactments. It is free and open to the public, but people should bring their own chairs.

The Peace Garden is located at West Main St. in Batavia. It is right next to the Holland Land Office Museum, which is at 131 West Main St.

Sunday, May 6, 2012 at 7:35 pm

Photos: Peace Garden dedication

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Peace Garden

In an afternoon-long celebration, highlighted by the raising of flags of 20 nations, the Peace Garden in Batavia was dedicated today.

Friday, May 4, 2012 at 11:15 pm

Anti-U.N. residents plan protest during peace garden dedication Sunday

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Peace Garden

The dedication of the peace garden in Batavia on Sunday will draw a quiet protest from some local residents, according to Mike Barrett, owner of Barrett's Batavia Marine.

The problem, Barrett said, is that the peace garden is a little too closely linked with the United Nations and Barrett and others are no fan of the U.N.

One of Barrett's current concerns is a U.N. push to create an international treaty on the trade of guns, and while supporters of the treaty say it merely deals with the illicit sale of guns, groups such as the NRA fear it's really an attempt to circumvent the 2nd Amendment (Wikipedia).

"(The peace garden is) a noble effort," Barrett said, "but when one of the principles of the peace garden gets an award from the United Nations and they're going to have a torch run via the U.N. from Buffalo to Albany, that concerns us. We don't want anything to do with the U.N."

Barrett is referring to Paula Savage, a Batavia native who organized the first peace garden in Ottawa and is now part of the International Peace Garden Foundation.

Savage was recently honored by the U.N. for her peace garden efforts.

The Batavia garden is adjacent to the Holland Land Office Museum on West Main Street and the protest is scheduled to start at 2 p.m. on the opposite side of the street.

"It will be peaceful. There will be no bullhorns," Barrett said. "We're going to have an informational protest to show that the the peace garden is associated with the United Nations and that we're dead set against what the U.N. does."

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