Historic Maple Trees Honour Fallen WWI Soldiers at Toronto School

Grove receives Heritage Tree recognition at 100th year celebration of Lambton Park Community School

TORONTO, Sept. 24, 2016 /CNW/ - Today, at Lambton Park Community School in Toronto, six maple trees were recognized by Forests Ontario as part of the Heritage Tree Program. The maple trees are estimated to be more than 97 years old.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of Lambton Park and these trees play an important role in the history of the school. The two Silver maples and four Norway maples were planted on November 11, 1919, the first Remembrance Day following World War I, to commemorate twelve soldiers from the school's neighbourhood who lost their lives in the First World War. Today, as alumni, teachers and the community gathered to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the school, Stephanie Prince of Forests Ontario presented a plaque and certificate to the school.

The trees were nominated by Bonita Nelson, the niece of two of the deceased soldiers. Bonita's family belongs to the Bernice Crescent Community in Lambton and she nominated the trees for heritage recognition.

Forests Ontario's Heritage Tree Program collects and tells the stories of Ontario's diverse and unique trees and brings awareness to the social, cultural, historical, and ecological value of trees. Trees are nominated for recognition based on distinctness in size, form, age, rarity, or their connection with historically significant events, individuals, or locations. More about the Heritage Tree Program can be read here.   

"Our trees are a part of the history of our nation and stand as biological monuments to the legacy of our country," said Rob Keen, CEO of Forests Ontario. "When these trees were originally planted, the community of Lambton was just taking shape. Our heritage trees demonstrate proven resistance to stressful urban growing conditions and perpetuating their seeds and genetic qualities will ensure we continue to meet canopy targets and fight climate change."

"It is amazing to celebrate Bonita's first Remembrance Day trees," commented Janet McKay, Executive Director, Local Enhancement & Appreciation of Forests. "The enduring role that trees play in building our communities and Toronto's history is a great reminder to everyone."

"Schools and school grounds are often the building blocks of our communities," said Chris Tonks, Ward 6 Trustee, Toronto District School Board. "These trees have stood guard over generations of students. They've contributed to the beauty of the area and have bared witness to the growth of Toronto. These century trees will continue to stand tall over the families, teachers and residents of the Bloor West community."

The six maples at the school were entered into the "heritage potential" category of LEAF's Great Toronto Tree Hunt, which ran in the spring of 2015.

Anyone interested in nominating a tree as part of the Heritage Tree Program should contact Forests Ontario or visit forestsontario.ca for more information.

About Forests Ontario
Forests Ontario is the voice for our forests. Working to promote a future of healthy forests sustaining healthy people, Forests Ontario is committed to the re-greening of Ontario through tree planting efforts on rural lands and in urban areas, as well as the renewal and stewardship of Ontario's forests through restoration, education and awareness. Visit www.forestsontario.ca or follow us @Forests_Ontario.

About LEAF
LEAF (Local Enhancement & Appreciation of Forests) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the protection and improvement of the urban forest. LEAF undertakes creative public awareness campaigns to raise awareness about the value of urban forests and engages citizens in stewardship through education and planting programs.  Visit www.yourleaf.org or follow us @leaf.

SOURCE Forests Ontario

Image with caption: "Bonita Nelson who nominated six historic maple trees for recognition by Forests Ontario's Heritage Tree Program. (Photo Credit: Shan Qiao) (CNW Group/Forests Ontario)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20160924_C7083_PHOTO_EN_780938.jpg

For further information: Jeannette Holder (to RSVP for event), Communications Manager, Forests Ontario, 416.646.1193 ext. 257 (cell 416.522.8140), jholder@forestsontario.ca; Janet McKay, Executive Director, LEAF, 416.413.9244 x17 (cell 647.883.5777), janet@yourleaf.org

RELATED LINKS
www.treesontario.ca

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