When Norland resident Paul Christie retired to cottage country more than a decade ago, he didn’t know the half of the natural wonders that surrounded him.

The name refers to the granite barrens that separate the Canadian Shield and limestone reserves that skirt large parts of southern Ontario. The Land Between is one of Canada’s most unique ecotones, meaning it contains elements of the ecosystems it borders while boasting one-of-a-kind features of its own. The space boasts the highest mineral diversity in Ontario and is home to hundreds of native species.

“The Land Between is a true natural wonder of the world… that I feel is totally unpromoted and underappreciated,” Christie told The Highlander, noting he wants to create a space that showcases all the region has to offer.

A keen horticulturist, Christie has conceptualized The Land Between Garden, which he hopes to install at Ward Memorial Park in Norland. With a 40-foot diameter, the space will feature eight gardens, all blossoming with perennial plants native to the area. Lou Loree, a one-time member of the Haliburton County Master Gardeners, has been drafted in to help with the design.

Christie said the structure would include walkways for people to traverse and feature an educational component.

Initial estimates have pegged the cost somewhere north of $180,000. Christie said he’s brought in $30,000 already, with a golf tournament fundraiser held at Monck’s Landing golf course in Norland last weekend raising $5,000. The City of Kawartha Lakes has contributed $7,500 to the project, while Christie noted many local workers and businesses have stepped up to hel

An application has been submitted to the Ontario Trillium Foundation, which, if successful, could see the project break ground in the spring.

There’s still a need for further community support, though. Christie said residents can contribute to the project by purchasing donor bricks, which will be installed throughout the garden. There are buy-in options at $500, $100, and $25. There’s also an opportunity for people to sponsor memorial benches, he said.

To donate, contact Christie at tlbgarden@ gmail.com or 905-391-5803.