Nestled along County Road 1, smack dab in the middle between Winchester and Kemptville is Mountain, Ont., and in that town is an orchard. Every year that orchard makes a corn maze, usually spelling out its name. This year is a little different.
On Thursday, Mountain Orchard revealed an aerial photo showing the maze from above. The maze spells out Jonathan Pitre’s name, along with DEBRA, the research charity that works to find a cure for the disease Jonathan lived with his entire life: epidermolysis bullosa.
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According to Phil Lyall who co-owns the orchard and cuts it out ever year, the decision to design the maze in Jonathan’s honour was pretty straightforward.
“The decision was pretty easy to make,” said Lyall. “He was a local kid and we certainly had a lot of sympathy for the boy and his mother and what they went through.”
Lyall says he designs the maze the old-fashioned way without the use of GPS. He goes out into the field in the early summer when the stalks are about six inches high and marks the path so he can see where to cut when the corn is tall enough to create a maze. Lyall first designed the maze in honour of Jonathan and later asked for Jonathan’s mother Tina Bouleau’s blessing to promote it.
Boileau commented on Twitter, thanking the orchard for remembering her son.
Jonathan passed away in April. He was 17.
According to the DEBRA website, epidermolysis bullosa happens due to genetic defects which result in the skin layers not adhering properly to each other, causing areas of structural weakness. This fragile skin is particularly vulnerable to damage from mild friction. The disease occurs in approximately one in 17,000 people and currently affects approximately 500,000 people worldwide.
The maze and other activities are free of charge and opens Aug. 25. Lyall says that he plans to set up a donation box at the orchard with all proceeds being donated to DEBRA.