Orangeville’s newest tree carving pays tribute to Lord Dufferin IODE’s health care history

July 5, 2024   ·   0 Comments

The Town of Orangeville and the Lord Dufferin Chapter of the Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire (IODE) have partnered to install a new tree sculpture honouring the group’s work in the Orangeville area.

“The Nurse” recognizes the remarkable history of the IODE’s ongoing contributions to the community and its longstanding commitment to supporting Headwaters Hospital.

Standing at 32 First Street, The Nurse is fittingly located in front of Lord Dufferin Retirement Residence, the location of the former Dufferin Area Hospital. She is dressed in a uniform reminiscent of the early 1900s and is carrying a clipboard referencing the knowledge and care received by patients over the years. Her face is gentle and thoughtful and on her chest is a pin with the IODE crest.

This is the second nurse statue to stand in this prominent location. The first was commissioned by the Lord Dufferin IODE to mark its 100th anniversary in 2007. It remained in that spot for nearly 15 years until it was removed in 2022 after it was vandalized.

“The Nurse represents the contributions of the Lord Dufferin IODE ladies who volunteered before us.” said Jessica Cerveny, President of the IODE Lord Dufferin Chapter. “The sculpture is a fitting tribute to their dedication, time and foresight to build and maintain a hospital for the local population.”

The sculpture was created out of white pine by local artist Jim Menken, who also carved the original statue. The Nurse took three weeks to carve and stands at about 2.3 meters tall and 0.8 meters wide. This sculpture is one of many installations in Orangeville that feature Mr. Menken’s talent and creativity. Other installations by Mr. Menken include The Hiker, The Conductor, Coyotes, The Lion, and The Musicians.

The Nurse reclaims its location from The Storyteller, another tree sculpture that originally stood outside the Mill Street branch of the Orangeville Public Library. During the location’s recent renovation, the sculpture was moved to 32 First Street.

For over 17 years, The Storyteller acted as a memorial to Marilyn Doekes, a former teacher, librarian, and storyteller. Although the natural deterioration of the sculpture requires its removal, Marilyn’s legacy will live on through a memorial stone and plaque located in the front garden of the Mill Street branch and a commemorative photograph displayed inside the library.

Given their organic structure, tree sculptures are non-permanent works that the Town of Orangeville continuously cares for and protects. Tree sculptures installed outdoors are typically a beloved part of our community for 12 to 20 years before the natural decomposition of the wood requires removal. 

“We are so incredibly fortunate to have such wonderful artwork around our Town, carved out of our natural resources to celebrate and bring attention to so many great pieces of our past, present, and future,” said Councillor Joe Andrews. “The IODE has had a strong presence and profound impact on our community for so long, and I am thrilled to see them honoured in this way.”

The history of the IODE Lord Dufferin Chapter

The IODE met for the first time on October 18, 1907, with the goal of establishing a hospital in Orangeville. The first meeting saw 53 women initiate a fundraising campaign and in February of 1911, the group purchased the John Kearns house, at the corner of First Street (then known as Prince of Wales Road) and McCarthy Street. It was purchased for $2,800 and $4,000 was spent on renovations. The hospital, like the IODE chapter, was named for Lord Dufferin, one of Canada’s Governors-General who had visited Orangeville when the County was formed.

The nine-bed Lord Dufferin Hospital opened on October 12, 1912. That same year, a training school for nurses was opened which graduated students until 1933. In 1923, the new wing was completed, and the hospital had 30 beds. The first hospital board was established in 1933, and during the depression years, the IODE raised funds to purchase an elevator. In 1954, another new wing was opened, bringing the total number of beds to 84.  

After 42 years of management, the IODE surrendered their charter to allow for the creation of a more broadly-based community hospital board in 1954. The hospital was renamed Dufferin Area Hospital. In 1997, the IODE contributed $100,000 towards the construction of Headwaters Health Care Centre which opened in May of that year on Rolling Hills Drive.

Tree sculptures in Orangeville

There are over 35 tree sculptures installed throughout Orangeville. These popular pieces are part of the Town’s growing public art collection that also includes utility box art, murals, and other monuments. The online guide provides the location, photos, and details of each piece. Self-guided tours also help residents and visitors explore the community while discovering public art pieces along the way. Visit to learn more.

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