After his wife, Jean Melrose Bevan, died in 2001, Michael Bevan wished to create a tribute to their marriage of more than 56 years and to Jean’s love of nature. Jean’s family were early settlers in Upper Canada, as Ontario was called before Canada became a country in 1867, and were closely connected to the land. In 2003, Michael gave a gift of over 50 trees to the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, where Jean and Michael were then resident and where the family had lived more than 50 years earlier. He named it The Jean Melrose Bevan Memorial Heritage Tree Walk. There is a memorial stone found at one end of the Tree Walk.
Jean and Mike met during the Second World War and went to university following its end. Together, they raised four children in the hamlet of Kleinburg, north of Toronto. Jean managed all the household tasks, without outside help, while also, untypically, working full-time. Following the death of her father in 1964, Jean brought her mother and disabled older brother into the house. She was a dedicated, inspiring mother and known as a vivacious, gracious host.
Michael was educated as a horticulturist at universities in Alberta and Wisconsin. At 29, he was Canada’s youngest Provincial Horticulturist. He became a director of television and producer of documentaries for television and radio with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and TVO, worked with the Canadian International Development Agency in the Caribbean, was elected as a municipal councillor, and, after acquiring his fourth degree, in education, ended his formal working life as a science teacher. Each stage contributed to his determination that the Tree Walk would be not only a tribute to his wife but also a way to provide education about Canada’s trees and nature in an urban environment.
Following Mr. Bevan’s death in 2011, his children decided to rename the memorial The Jean & Michael Bevan Tree Walk.
Having learned the value of momentary connections with nature, Lynn Bevan donated a garden on the grounds of the Shaw Festival Theatre in Niagara-on-the-Lake. It was created as a tribute to her sister, Peggy Bell, and brother-in-law, Ken Bell, for their tireless volunteer work. It is known as the Bevan Bell Secret Garden.