Skip to main content

Peace Garden

Friends of Peace Garden to dedicate Lady Liberty replica on Memorial Day

By Press Release

Press release:

On Monday, May 30 at 10 a.m., Friends of the Batavia Peace Garden are to meet at the Peace Garden to dedicate the newest addition, a 6ft replica of Lady Liberty.  The statue was obtained through Don Barone at Superior Garden Decor and sponsored by Ken Barrett Chevrolet, Cadillac, Inc. of Batavia.     

The original statue that stands in New York Harbor was a gift to the United States by the people of France in 1886, designed by French Sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi.  She is one of the most recognizable figures in the world and is a single symbol of hope and spirit.  Just as she stands tall on Liberty Island in New York Harbor, a replica of Lady Liberty will now greet visitors to the Batavia Peace Garden for current and future generations.

In 1986 The Statue of Liberty was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was described by UNESCO as “a masterpiece of the human spirit” that “endures as a highly potent symbol-inspiring contemplation, debate and protest-of ideals such as liberty, peace, human rights, abolition of slavery, democracy and opportunity.”

Barb Toal “The Friends of the Batavia Peace Garden believe this icon represents many of these same ideals and will be a welcoming reminder to visitors.  Future plans for the Batavia Peace Garden include expansion and the addition of more symbols of hope and peace.”

For updates visit  Volunteers are always welcome and very much needed. Contact Paula Savage for details (585) 343-2387.

Batavia Peace Garden to hold Fall Festival basket raffle Oct. 23

By Press Release

Press release:

Friends of the Batavia Peace Garden prepare for their annual Basket Raffle fundraiser to be held on Saturday, October 23rd during the FALL FESTIVAL sponsored by All Babies Cherished.  The event with taking place at the Batavia City Center.  All proceeds from the Basket Raffle will benefit the Batavia Peace Garden.  Barb Toal, President of the Friends of the Batavia Peace Garden “we have assembled a fantastic line up of over sixty gifts and gift baskets just in time for the holidays.  There is something for everyone.  Many unique gifts, multi-generational, designer handbags, artwork, jewelry, pet friendly, handmade & seasonal, toys, and fine collectibles.  The event runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and admission is free.  There will be more than 70 vendors present throughout the mall.  The festival will feature food and entertainment.  Bring the whole family.”

Submitted Photo: Dona Tiberio, Barb Toal, Ida Monachino, Berneds Scoins, Louise Wallace, Carol Grosso, MaryJo Dumuhosky, Dianna Bogue, Paula Savage

St. Joe's students recognized for their creations of ‘love’ for the Peace Garden

By Joanne Beck

Sometimes one good deed earns another. 

And 10-year-old Maddie Casey and her St. Joseph’s School summer camp peers learned that lesson this week for a project they donated to Batavia Peace Garden. The students, including four who served as leaders from Notre Dame High School, were honored with Certificates of Appreciation Thursday at the Summit Street elementary school.

“We do crafts every day, and we painted some rocks. I used lots of bright colors so they’d stand out,” Maddie, a fifth-grader, said. “Knowing that you’re doing something for someone else, it just feels really good.”

Last month school students and officials heard that several Peace Garden stones had been stolen from the garden property next to Holland Land Office Museum. Project coordinator Stephanie King  said that the group members were talking about it and “they were very concerned.”

St. Josephs’s Principal Karen Green read about the theft and “it just struck a chord with me,” she said. Green knew she and her students could help out, especially since they had recently finished a stone decorating project at the elementary school’s summer camp. She and King gathered 30 leftover stones and tasked students to get busy.

“I loved the words they used … one stone said Peace, and another Kindness, and Faith,” Green said. “I’m so glad we touched their hearts. I think a little act of kindness goes a long way.”

It was heart-warming news, International Peace Garden founder Paula Savage said. The original stones were the result of a two-month project completed by Savage and Peace Garden Committee member Dona Tiberio. 

“This idea was intended to draw interest for children to visit and enjoy the garden. The very day after we placed the stones, they disappeared. We were devastated,” Savage said. “When we received the phone call from Karen Green it brought tears to our eyes. We could hardly believe these children were so inspired by our story. The children placed their artwork in the garden and it is there for visitors to enjoy.”

First-grader Maggie Spencer helps her mom in the garden at home, and wanted to contribute to the Peace Garden project "because those people felt sad," she said. Maggie painted one of her stones purple and added yellow and blue dots. Receiving a thank-you and knowing she made a difference made it all the better, she said.

“I’m very, very happy,” the six-year-old said.

Batavia Town Historian Berneda Scoins presented the certificates, along with Peace Garden pins. She had previously walked through the garden to see the children’s handiwork and knew “they were created with love,” she said.

“They made me smile, knowing these students added a blessing to the garden,” Scoins said. “We need to embrace our youth and encourage them to continue to be kind and loving. Genesee County and St. Joe’s can be very proud of these young people.”

Garden committee members are celebrating the site’s 10th anniversary.  They decorated it for fall and hope the community will continue to enjoy the West Main Street site with each changing season, Savage said. 

Photos by Howard Owens

Submitted photo.

Some of the stones and shells stolen from Peace Garden recovered and returned

By Howard B. Owens

Batavia PD received an anonymous tip that led to the recovery of some of the decorated stones and shells that were stolen from the Batavia Peace Garden a couple of weeks ago, according to Chief Shawn Heubusch.

The officers who recovered the stones and shells returned them to the Peace Garden.

Peace Garden founder and director Paula Savage confirmed that the stones and shells returned were from the Peace Garden.

Previously: Two-month art project at the Peace Garden, painted stones and shells, destroyed by vandals

Two-month art project at the Peace Garden, painted stones and shells, destroyed by vandals

By Howard B. Owens

Peace Garden committee members spent numerous hours over two months painting and decorating 100 stones and seashells as an art project for the garden only to have it destroy in one night vandals.

Paula Savage, the founder and director of the Peace Garden, said the final installation of the stones and shells was completed on July 20. That was a Tuesday.  By Wednesday evening, every single painted stone and shell was missing, she said.

"Needless to say, we are saddened and disappointed that someone would vandalize the garden in this manner not to mention the time, effort, and expense that was put forth to acquire all of the materials and design this lovely artwork," Savage said.

Savage did not report the crime to Batavia PD.

"The reason I did not file with the police is that I assumed with the stones all being missing there would be none remaining for them to guard and we were not planning to replace them," she said. "Now I realize I was wrong to assume that."

Photos submitted by Paula Savage.

New arbor installed at the Peace Garden

By Press Release

Press release:

A decorative arbor has been constructed at the site of the Batavia Peace Garden located behind the new Court House adjacent to Tonawanda Creek.  The arbor is part of continuation plans to extend the Peace Garden along Main Street.  It marks the entrance to the Batavia Peace Garden Memory Walk.  Barb Toal, a co-founder of the Peace Garden, first had the vision to expand the Peace Garden several years ago.  The Peace Garden Memory Walk was created in 2016 and is dotted with flowering trees and benches paying homage to deceased loved ones who have touched the lives of Peace Garden volunteers.  Visitors can walk along the path and read their individual stories at each site.

Toal “Our community is very supportive of this beautiful garden.   I reached out to several local businesses for their support and the response was overwhelming.  Tri-County Welding built the structure and donated the steel.  Select Collision painted the structure.  The labor for the arbor was financed by Chapin Manufacturing.  The concrete base was donated by Western New York Concrete and the installation was completed by The Bridge Addiction Recovery Group, Ron Burroughs, and Toal Plumbing.   This garden is truly blessed by the generosity of our community and we are so grateful for that because it takes a village to keep this garden going and maintained.  Volunteers are always welcome and appreciated to help with all our activities. Discussions are underway to connect the Peace Garden Memory Walk to the existing Ellicott Trail Toe Path.  If and when that happens it will complete our vision.”


The Garden with Deep Roots

By Genesee County Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center


In downtown Batavia, NY, you will notice a beautiful and charming park right on Main Street sitting on the banks of Tonawanda Creek. The colorful garden is more than just a gorgeous landmark. Through natural beauty, the War of 1812 Bicentennial Peace Garden represents a symbol of 200 years of peaceful coexistence with our neighbors in Canada.

Well maintained by volunteers, the peace garden celebrates history through informational signage, display of flags, and little artistic features, such as a bench shaped as a butterfly. A footbridge extends across the meandering creek. A nice, gentle spot, indeed.

The Bicentennial Peace Garden Trail is designed to attract international visitors as well as residents of this historic region to experience and enjoy the natural beauty that these gardens provide while commemorating the two centuries of peace that has existed between Canada and the United States.

Part of a much larger endeavor, the Batavia peace gardens is part of a 600 mile trail that travels through Canada and the United States. The route follows the historic route where events from the War of 1812.

Visit to learn more...

Peace Garden volunteers ask Pokemon trainers to please pick up their empty bottles and cans

By Howard B. Owens

The folks who arranged the creation of the Batavia Peace Garden have a request of Pokemon trainers congregating there in droves -- please do them one simple favor: Pick up after yourselves.

Carol Grasso called WBTA today to pass that message along.

She stopped by the garden and spoke to three people who had biked there from Hilton, and she thought it was great and hopes people who come to the garden are having a good time, but she wants everyone to enjoy it.

"I guess there are some rare Pokemon there," she told WBTA.

She said she was told there will be a "rally" there Saturday and she hopes people will respect the garden and keep it clean.

“We work very hard on the Peace Garden and it is a beautiful spot and we’re just trying to encourage anybody who is looking for these Pokemon to at least put their trash in the trash can," She said. "We do have trash cans in the garden and we will clean them out every day and try to make them empty so there shouldn’t be any trashing going on.” 

She concluded her interview by noting that she was driving by right at that moment and there were about 15 people there playing the game.

"I hope they enjoy the garden, but take your trash with you or put it in the garbage cans," she said. "Thanks everybody. Have fun with the Pokemon."

Previously: Even in Batavia, Pokemon are everywhere

Peace Garden celebrates 5th birthday with dinner at Terry Hills

By Howard B. Owens

The Peace Garden in Batavia is 5 years old, and supporters celebrated Saturday with a dinner at Terry Hills.

Awards were given to Kelly Rapone, Mary Dix, Kathy Jasinski and Ron Burroughs.

The guest speaker was Corrin Stellakis, 2014 Miss Teen NYS.

Also pictured are Tom Dix, Paula Savage, Ellen Bachorski, Carol Grasso, Berneda Scoins and Louise Wallace.

Butterfly bench dedicated at Batavia Peace Garden

By Howard B. Owens

Friends of the Batavia Peace Garden dedicated a new bench -- a bench with the wings of a butterfly -- Wednesday afternoon.

The steel was laser cut by Oxbo International, of Byron, and the welding was completed by Barone's Welding, of Batavia. Paint was supplied by Mosman's and the Melody Barbeau Family, of Florida. The painting was completed by Old World Collision.

Pictured above, front row, Carol Grasso, Bernada Scoins, Barb Toal, Rob Barone and Steve Merritt (Oxbo).

Barb Toal making a dedication speech.

The bench from behind.

Carol Grasso's new puppy liked the bench.

Photos: Eye-catching hats at the Fabulous Females awards dinner

By Howard B. Owens

Town of Batavia Supervisor Greg Post was among several people attending the Fabulous Females awards dinner at Terry Hills tonight attired in hats that would put Kentucky Derby patrons to shame.

This year's honorees were Loren Penman, the Blossom Award, Elizabeth Myers, the Petal Award and Hannah Durham, the Seedling Award.

The dinner is sponsored by the YWCA and the Friends of the Batavia Peace Garden.

Beth Allen

Martha Bailey

Jeanne Walton, director of the YWCA, and Barb Toal, with the Peace Garden.

Joan and Greg Post

Betsy Grasso, Beth Grasso, Carol Grasso and Lorraine Nolan.

Photos: Flag raising at the Peace Garden

By Howard B. Owens

Batavia and Le Roy Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts and the American Heritage Girls Troop NY0146 in Le Roy participated this morning in a flag raising at the International Peace Garden.

Innovative Community Contribution of the Year Award: Friends of the Batavia Peace Garden

By Alecia Kaus

This is the first of a series of articles we will run over the next three days highlighting the winners of the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce awards for 2012. The awards gala is Saturday evening at the Clarion Hotel.

When Barb Toal went on a sightseeing trip to Rome, Italy, with her sister six years ago, she sat in a beautiful garden across from the Colosseum to rest for a few minutes. At the time she had no idea what the garden was, only that it was a wonderful peaceful spot to sit and take a break.

Fast forward two years later to 2009.

Barb is sitting in the living room of Paula Savage, president of the International Peace Garden Association, who is trying to convince Barb to help set up an International Peace Garden commemorating the War of 1812 in the City of Batavia.

As the two women sat discussing the project, Paula had a laptop on the coffee table running pictures of International Peace Gardens from around the world. Barb froze when she saw a photo of the beautiful garden she remembered sitting in a few years earlier on her trip to Rome.

After scrolling through a few more of Paula's photoss, Barb recognized another garden she visited the following year after her trip to Italy -- in Dublin, Ireland.

"It's pretty ironic. I've been to two of them now. This is a no-brainer. I gotta get involved," Toal said.

Being president of the Holland Land Office Museum at the time, she thought this would be good use for the vacant land to the east of the museum and a good way to bring more people in to visit the Holland Land Office."This is a great fit, a perfect fit," Toal thought. The idea was now planted.

She then solicited the help of longtime friend Carol Grasso. The two have been friends since ninth grade and both graduated from Pembroke High School together.

"I just knew I had to be a part of it," Grasso says.

"This community, we knew since we were little, would come together to make this happen," Toal added.

Armed with seven solid volunteers, the group now referred to as "Friends of the Batavia Peace Garden" went to work. After four years of meetings, fundraising, and solicitations, they were ready to make the garden a reality.  

Running into many obstacles along the way, the project had to be accomplished one day at time. The electric wiring and digging through the base of Walnut Street and the old bridge was a stopper.

"After the electric meeting we were whipped. We thought, 'we can't do this and it's not gonna happen,' Toal said. It was like climbing a mountain, I slipped went down 10 notches then had to go up another 10 again." She said she learned a lot about patience over those four years.

Toal said they knew what they had to do, but had no money. It was amazing how the community came out to help. There were 15 landscaping trucks in the prime season that showed up and volunteered to revamp the once-barren land.

Martin Dilcher, of Dilcher's Excavating, who nominated the group for the award, was driving by the work in progress one day and spotted Barb using a jackhammer. She was making her way through layers of old buildings and solid rock to create a 5-foot hole in the ground for the electric and base for the globe. Dilcher yelled out to her, "What are you trying to do kill yourself ?" Dilcher showed up at 9 a.m. the next morning with a backhoe to help out.

When Toal needed someone to make the giant metal globe she turned to her neighbor Rob Barone who is a welder. He didn't know what she really wanted.

Toal made a trip to BJ's Wholesale and purchased a glass globe in a box and showed it to Barone. She also handed over a few pictures of one located in the Town of Lima. Barone then solicited the help of Patrick Waite, and together they created the globe that is currently on display at the Garden.

According to Grasso, "There were a lot of ups and downs. We didn't think we were going to make it, especially moneywise, but we did it."

She says people can't wait to help out and fund-raise now.

The Friends of the Batavia Peace Garden will be holding their third annual fundraiser dinner to be held at Terry Hills April 27th. They are planning a fashion show and are honoring Joe Gerace and Carolyn Pratt this year.

May 11th they will be having a birthday party and celebrate by raising the 23 flags for the year. It will be a community day from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Everyone is welcome to come out and join in the festivities.  

The Batavia Peace Garden commemorating the War of 1812 is stop number 13 of 25 on a 600-mile trail that runs through Canada and the United States. Batavia became the rallying point in the War of 1812. British forces burned 200 homes in Youngstown, many families then relocated to the Batavia area to take shelter.

Three more gardens were added to the trail last year. All are located in the Thousand Islands region of New York State. Brussels, Belgium, will be the location of the next garden. It will be created in 2014.

Toal says the group has plans on expanding the Batavia Garden in 2014. They want to extend the grounds to include the area behind the Genesee County Courts facility near the falls of the Tonawanda Creek. They will add more flags and possibly a gazebo.

Toal, who is now retired, says she is more busy now being president of the Friends of the Batavia Peace Garden. She says, "It hasn't been a hard road, just a long road to get to this point."

"To think what we've done in a couple of years, it's humbling to think we got this award," Grasso says. "It's was worth every drop of sweat that we had. All the hard work, the back-breaking digging. It's amazing."  

Anyone interested in buying a brick or path stone can contact Barb Toal at 585-344-2548 or e-mail her at btoal@

The group also has a new Web site,

Photo by Howard Owens. From left, Barb Toal, Mary Ellen Wilber, Carol Grasso, and Berneda Scoins.

Memorial set up for Newtown victims at Peace Garden

By Howard B. Owens

Press release:

As a nation, grieves the Batavia Peace Garden provides a place of solace where Batavia citizens can visit to lament their feelings of sadness for the fallen angels of Newtown, Conn., a community very similar in size to that of Batavia.

Barb Toal, project manager for the Batavia Peace Garden, commented that “with so many people in our community touched by this terrible sadness it just seemed like the right thing for us to do. When events like this happen you just feel so helpless and you need a place to go to express those feelings”.

Over the next few days, Friends of the Batavia Peace Garden will be hanging pink ribbons through the trees at the Peace Garden in honor of the 20 slain children and six teachers who perished last Friday.

Residents and visitors are invited to drop by the Peace Garden. The temporary memorial will be on display in the glass covered kiosk at the Peace Garden in Paolo Busti Park adjacent to the Holland Land Office for the next several weeks.

Chance to meet Frederick Douglas descendant at Batavia Peace Garden on Sunday

By Daniel Crofts

As part of an interstate tour focused on the history of the anti-slavery movement in the Northeast, 16 educators from California and Kenneth Morris, the great-great-great grandson of abolitionist Frederick Douglass, will come to Batavia's Bicentennial Peace Garden around 3:30 pm on Sunday.

Event Date and Time

Chance to meet Frederick Douglas descendant at Batavia Peace Garden on Sunday

By Daniel Crofts

As part of an interstate tour focused on the history of the anti-slavery movement in the Northeast, 16 educators from California and Kenneth Morris, the great-great-great grandson of abolitionist Frederick Douglass, will come to Batavia's Bicentennial Peace Garden around 3:30 pm on Sunday.

The Friends of the Batavia Peace Garden, the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce and the office of the County Historian are planning an afternoon of educational entertainment that includes refreshments and costumed reenactments. It is free and open to the public, but people should bring their own chairs.

The Peace Garden is located at West Main St. in Batavia. It is right next to the Holland Land Office Museum, which is at 131 West Main St.

Photos: Peace Garden dedication

By Howard B. Owens

In an afternoon-long celebration, highlighted by the raising of flags of 20 nations, the Peace Garden in Batavia was dedicated today.

Anti-U.N. residents plan protest during peace garden dedication Sunday

By Howard B. Owens

The dedication of the peace garden in Batavia on Sunday will draw a quiet protest from some local residents, according to Mike Barrett, owner of Barrett's Batavia Marine.

The problem, Barrett said, is that the peace garden is a little too closely linked with the United Nations and Barrett and others are no fan of the U.N.

One of Barrett's current concerns is a U.N. push to create an international treaty on the trade of guns, and while supporters of the treaty say it merely deals with the illicit sale of guns, groups such as the NRA fear it's really an attempt to circumvent the 2nd Amendment (Wikipedia).

"(The peace garden is) a noble effort," Barrett said, "but when one of the principles of the peace garden gets an award from the United Nations and they're going to have a torch run via the U.N. from Buffalo to Albany, that concerns us. We don't want anything to do with the U.N."

Barrett is referring to Paula Savage, a Batavia native who organized the first peace garden in Ottawa and is now part of the International Peace Garden Foundation.

Savage was recently honored by the U.N. for her peace garden efforts.

The Batavia garden is adjacent to the Holland Land Office Museum on West Main Street and the protest is scheduled to start at 2 p.m. on the opposite side of the street.

"It will be peaceful. There will be no bullhorns," Barrett said. "We're going to have an informational protest to show that the the peace garden is associated with the United Nations and that we're dead set against what the U.N. does."

Photo: Hot dog sale to benefit the Peace Garden

By Howard B. Owens

Volunteers were in front of the Holland Land Office Museum parking lot today hawking hot dogs to raise funds for the International Peace Garden.

The peace garden supporters will be back at HLOM weekend after next.

Authentically Local