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Demise of the Brighton Oak

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Old_Oak_Brighton_285[Editor's note: See the CBC video of the neighbours saying goodbye here. Thanks to OOS local Lori Pope for all her hard work alerting both the community association and the media.

The following was written Aug.11. for the News Between the Bridges Newsletter.]

As many residents of Old Ottawa South and beyond may know, there is a beloved old oak tree in Brighton Park (formerly Brighton Beach) that has been struggling to survive for some years now, and the last big storm on July 17th caused sufficient damage that the City of Ottawa is concerned about safety and will be removing the tree sometime in the very near future [removal commences Wed. Sept. 17, 2011]. The tree has figured prominently over decades in the history of Old Ottawa South, and the City has worked hard at maintaining it for some years now despite its poor condition.

The Old Ottawa South Community Association (OSCA) has been in discussion over time about a way to participate in memorializing this important historical community landmark, and councillor David Chernushenko's office has been discussing possibilities as well, as it is a significant Capital Ward landmark too.

Because the tree is now considered a more serious potential hazard, the City may act on its removal soon--possibly as early as mid-August--and OSCA would like to receive suggestions and recommendations for the tree's memorialization from members of the community as soon as possible.

Several very good suggestions have been made. One suggestion is to have a "chain saw sculpture" made of the base and left in the park, while others have said the wood is not capable of withstanding an outdoor space for very long and have suggested that a sculpture be erected in a community space such as, but not potentially exclusively, at the Ottawa South Community Centre, Carleton University, or even the Sunnyside Branch of the Ottawa Public Library.

There is also some discussion of pieces of the tree being made available for residents who wish to preserve a piece themselves, with potentially a small distribution ceremony either during or after the cutting down of the tree.

OSCA will be gathering suggestions in the next few days/week from the community, so please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with your suggestions, and please pass this email alert on to others you may feel would be interested. This information will be passed on to the OSCA board and the Councillor.

There may be some requirement that the community association provide some monetary input into the preservation of part of the tree, so please consider if you think a small amount of OSCA funding would be appropriate to contribute. Please also include your email contact if you wish to be kept in the loop on what may transpire with regards to honouring the tree. You will nevertheless receive notices via OSCA Email Alert if you are already on the list to receive them. If not, please go to www.oldottawasouth.ca, Create an Account on the upper right corner of the screen, and select "email alert" as an option when you register. You may also wish to register as an OSCA member at the same time, if you have not done so already, and live in OOS, work, or own a business here.

Additionally, OSCA is looking for stories about residents' thoughts, feelings, or relationship with the tree and the park over the years, potentially for publication on the OSCA Between the Bridges website, in the OSCAR print newspaper, and/or at a memorial ceremony, should one occur. Again, please email your stories to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., with your author name and contact information. Photographs would be especially welcome.

Here's a brief tribute to the tree that appeared in the OSCAR some years ago: http://www.oldottawasouth.ca/documents/oscar/200106/oaktree.htm.


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