Old Ottawa South Community Association

The Tree That Made Canada Is Coming To Old Ottawa South

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On November 2, 2014 at 11:00am between Bronson Avenue and Bronson Place.

Maple Leaf Forever was Canada’s unofficial national anthem from its writing in 1867 through the two World Wars and the Korean War (where our troops were buried to the sounds of the song). It is a tune that symbolizes Canada’s history: it is the inspiration for our flag and has been played at key important events from the trenches of Flanders to Anne Murray’s rendition on the final night at Maple Leaf Gardens to Michael Bublé singing it at the Vancouver Olympics.

The silver maple tree that inspired the song, sadly, died last year in a severe wind-storm. It was over one-hundred-and-forty years old. The City of Toronto – where the tree grew – has graciously given the community group Bridge to Bridge two small trees grown from seeds taken from this historic tree. The last similar tree was planted several years ago by former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien in Coburg.

At 11.00 a.m. November 2, 2014, we will planting those trees in our community. The site is between Bronson Avenue and Bronson Place, north of Sunnyside. One tree will be planted by veterans of Canada’s wars and peace-keeping missions: the other by a combination of Canada’s current leaders and children.

The ceremony will be opened by elders from the Algonquin native community and will feature a bagpiper, a community choir – they will be singing the updated lyrics (the original ones are not suitable) composed by a Romanian-Canadian who won a competition hosted by CBC Metro Morning.

We are expecting a fair amount of media.

Senator Vern White, Ottawa’s former police chief is leading the political leaders and children. Retired Major-General Lewis Mackenzie, a veteran of nine peace-keeping missions, will join several disabled veterans of Canada’s war in Afghanistan to plant the second tree. Some of them will be speaking briefly on their ideas and vision of Canada’s history.

Our group – Bridge to Bridge – is a community tree-planting group with over one hundred members based in the Old Ottawa South area. We have been working to make a stretch of highway that leads into the city from the airport more beautiful with a range of red and white blossoming trees. We have not taken taxpayer-money in any way and finance our activities from sponsorship given by the community and local businesses.

Please come out to see this historic occasion – and help plant a tree that will shelter our community for generations to come!

Declan Hill is Chair of the Bridge to Bridge Community Reforestation Project.

Editor's Note: Read the report from the Ottawa Citizen 'Neighbourhood grows trees from the seeds of Canada's History', including a rendition by the Finest Kind of the song Maple Leaf Forever.

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