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Champlain Bur Oaks Honoured in National Tree Day Ceremony

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Wednesday morning, four bur oaks in the Champlain Park neighbourhood of Kitchissippi Ward were officially marked as heritage trees by Forestry Ontario as part of an initiative to grant 150 trees heritage designation in celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary. The ceremony noted the importance of honouring natural heritage, especially in a nation such as our own, which is known for its natural resources.

The ceremony began at Steve and Kay Kot’s Cowley Avenue residence where Rob Keen from Forestry Ontario attached a heritage plaque to the Kot’s 180-year-old bur oak. Keen spoke about the importance of recognizing these “biological monuments” as part of the project to protect our urban forest. The Kot family, who moved into their home in 1957, shared the important role this tree has played in their lives. Debra Huron of the Champlain Oaks Project was present – dressed festively in a bur oak costume – and urged the crowd to become more knowledgeable about the trees that surround us. The ceremony then moved on to Daniel Ave., where three more bur oaks were honoured, all ranging between 150 and 200 years old.  

The Champlain Oaks Project has been collecting acorns from mature bur oaks in the neighbourhood and fostering them; they have already planted six saplings from the Kot’s tree alone on public lands throughout the neighbourhood, and there are more available for purchase! It is important to preserve the genes of mature trees such as these, as genetic diversity helps increase the lifespan and success of our urban forest.

If you see a tree with a heritage designation plaque, you can look up its number on and read its story (see the attached photo below for an example). Events such as this one are important because of the challenges we are facing preserving our urban forest, especially in Kitchissippi ward. It is wonderful to see a tight-knit community coming together to celebrate a point of neighbourhood pride, and a welcome reminder that we can all work together to preserve our green infrastructure. Big Trees of Kitchissippi has two tree walks upcoming: one in Champlain Park on October 15th and one in Hampton Park on October 22nd. You can find more information here.  

Posted September 29, 2017
The Kot family's Bur Oak is estimated to be 180 years old.