Police investigating damage at Healing Garden

·2 min read

“Why do vandals have to try and destroy something that is so special to all of us who have loved ones in whose memory the stones represent?” Ron Allen asked after he found damage at the Aylmer Healing Garden.

Mr. Allen of Aylmer Grief Support, who looks after the garden in Balmoral Park, was shocked to find about 20 stones removed from a memorial this past weekend.

While there has been some instances of minor damage to the gardens over the years, such as trampled flowers, this incident is “the worst we’ve ever had,” said Mr. Allen.

On Thursday, January 7, several top stones on the stone display surrounding the bubbling water feature were found removed and placed on the ground. The mess was cleaned up, and stones reinstalled by the Aylmer Public Works department.

The morning of Saturday, Jan. 9, about 20 stones were found removed and placed next to the structure. Aylmer Public Works department recovered the stones and placed them in storage.

The incident is unusual, as they would have been difficult to remove, said Mr. Allen.

“You can’t just pick up these stones and walk away with it, they’re much too heavy,” said Mr. Allen, noting each piece is roughly eight pounds. “They’re pretty well frozen there because of the cold weather.”

Repairs on the structure are expected to occur in the spring.

Aylmer Police Chief Zvonko Horvat said the incident is being investigated as mischief.

“Aylmer Police will be conducting focused patrols throughout the evening and anyone caught damaging the park property will be charged accordingly,” said Chief Horvat.

The Healing Garden, overseen by Aylmer Grief Support, has provided a peaceful space in Balmoral Park for about 20 years, and features nearly 200 memorial stones.

Aylmer Grief Support receives funds to place an engraved memorial paving stone in the Healing Garden. There is an online form available on the town website for those wishing to place a memorial stone.

Veronica Reiner, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Aylmer Express