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The history of the
Matsuyama Bonsai Society

It all began with a chance meeting on King St. in Bowmanville. Joan Greenway, Harry Kamstra and Herman Sjouwerman were talking about the next Toronto Bonsai Society meeting.  The late hours and length of TBS meetings were inconvenient for the three friends, due to the distance they had to travel to get to the meetings.

"Why don't we start a club in Bowmanville" Harry suggested. And the rest is history...

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Herman Sjouwerman


Formed in May 1987, the Bowmanville Bonsai Club, which was later changed to the Matsuyama Bonsai Society, had six original members including Harry Kamstra, Joan Greenway and Herman Sjouwerman. Prior to the formation of this club, the closest bonsai society was Toronto, and members would make the trek into the city for meetings and exhibits.


The first show took place in May 1988 and it was combined with a Sumi-E exhibition entitled A Touch of Japan by Sue Tabuchi, a local artist at The Visual Art Centre in Bowmanville.The mimeographed poster for the Show was illustrated by Norman Haddrick.

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Harry Kamstra


Within three years the club had grown. By now most of our members were from Oshawa, so we moved to our current meeting room in Oshawa, and changed our name to the Matsuyama (Pine Ridge) Bonsai Society. Our third show Bonsai Show was a bust. It was held in the Northview Public Library Oshawa, and we only had 2 visitors, the Goodchild’s. Their entrance fee did pay for our donuts!

1991 - 2005

Our shows were held in September at Whitby’s famous Cullen Gardens and miniature village - a perfect setting for Bonsai Shows, attracting many visitors by the bus load to our annual show.

Donna Davidson

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Our logo was designed by Norman Haddrick. ​


Cullen Gardens closed, and our Bonsai Shows became part of the Oshawa Peony Festival. Over 2000 people came to  admire the 75 bonsai displayed in the ice hockey arena. We called it Bonsai on the Blue Line.

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In 2017 MBS celebrated the club’s 30th anniversary, its 15th show at the Children’s Arena and Canada’s 150th Birthday. Canadian trees and bonsai that were at least 15 years old were featured. Our last show before the Covid Pandemic was held in 2019. 


In 2020 our club meetings at Faith Place have been suspended due to covid restraints. Since then, our members show their bonsai during our popular weekly backyard summer workshops.



We resumed our monthly workshops at Faith Place and we showed off our trees in our first post-pandemic show.

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