The Heritage Apple Orchard at Vineland is the successor to a planting called the "Canadian Centennial Museum Orchard". This orchard was established in 1967 by Dr. Aleck Hutchinson to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Confederation in Canada. The Centennial orchard contained 194 named cultivars and some strains of specific cultivars. A strain by definition is a specific selection or mutation of a cultivar which exhibits some characteristic different from the cultivar itself.
In 1983, it was decided to replace the Centennial orchard with a new and smaller "Heritage" orchard, which would focus on maintaining apple cultivars having commercial importance in the Ontario apple industry in the past and/or present.
In 1988, the Heritage Orchard was officially dedicated on the occasion of the Centennial Celebration of the founding of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food. At the present time, 85 cultivars and 15 strains of apples are included in the Heritage Orchard. Most of the trees in this orchard were planted in 1986. Malling 26 is used as the rootstock. The tree size on this root will be about 40 percent of a tree on a standard vigorous rootstock. The tree spacing is 5 m. in the row and 6 m. between rows, producing a tree density of 333 trees per hectare. The system of training is a modified central leader.
Almost all of the cultivars formerly included in the Centennial Museum Orchard at Vineland are presently maintained at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station. This New York location has been designated a National Depository for apples by the National Plant Germplasm System of the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture.
The Heritage Orchard has been established to maintain selected apple cultivars which have had a place in the Ontario apple industry of the past. A few cultivars of special interest are also maintained in this orchard. The oldest cultivar in the collection is "Lady" (known in Europe as "Api"), named and introduced from France in 1600. The oldest Canadian origination is "Snow" or "Fameuse", named in 1636.
Cultivars Maintained in the Ontario Heritage Orchard
Alexander (Emperor Alexander)