March 4, 2014
Evergreen Brick Works to host milling of the historic ‘Maple Leaf Forever’ tree
For 23 years, Evergreen has been bringing nature to cities through building community gardens and planting trees. So when our Greenspace team was presented the opportunity to be a part of Canadian history and host the milling of the tree that inspired the song 'Maple Leaf Forever' by Alexander Muir, Evergreen jumped at the chance. This is a moment to highlight Canada’s history, our relationship with nature and celebrate those woodworkers who take city trees and repurpose them.
The historic silver maple tree that inspired Canada’s unofficial anthem over a century ago, and felled by a windstorm last summer, will be milled at Evergreen Brick Works the weekend of March 8–9, 2014 with a First Cut ceremony scheduled for 10am on Saturday.
To honour its history, the pieces will then be turned over to local artisans, carpenters, millworkers and woodturners to be re-purposed and live on in the form of artwork for public display in museums and historical societies across Canada. Local woodworkers will display their unique artworks and tree experts will be on hand to answer questions all weekend.
Come celebrate Canada’s history and identity through nature, and meet historians and artisans dedicated to preserving our natural heritage in stories and art.
When: Saturday, March 8 and Sunday, March 9, 2014, 10am–4pm
Where: Evergreen Brick Works, 550 Bayview Avenue
The history of the Maple Leaf Forever tree
The Maple Leaf Forever is a song written by poet, soldier and school headmaster Alexander Muir in 1867 to celebrate the Confederation of Canada. It was inspired by a large maple tree that stood on Muir’s street in front of Maple Cottage, in Toronto. After it was written, the song became popular amongst English Canadians and almost became Canada’s national anthem.
In the summer of July 2013, the tree was felled by a windstorm and the City of Toronto has been deciding on how to salvage the wood into public art ever since.
The importance of trees to Toronto
Urban forests are constantly evolving. Each year nearly 200,000 trees in the City of Toronto die of natural causes, are felled by storms, removed for safety reasons or killed by diseases and pests.
Toronto's urban forest has about 10.2 million trees that provide canopy cover for almost 30 percent of the city. 4.1 million trees line Toronto's streets and are found within the city's many parks and natural areas, and the remaining 6.1 million are situated on private property.
Urban trees provide huge benefits to the city and the people who live and work here. Amongst its many benefits, Toronto’s urban forest provides the equivalent of at least $28.2 million in ecological services each year including:
- Storage of 1.1 million metric tonnes of carbon or the equivalent of annual carbon emissions from 733,000 automobiles.
- Reduction of energy consumption by shading buildings, providing evaporative cooling and blocking winter winds. Toronto’s urban forest is estimated to reduce energy use from heating and cooling of residential buildings by 41,200 MWH ($10.2 million annually).
- Improvements to local air and water quality, intercepting over 1,900 metric tonnes of air pollutants annually (the equivalent value of $16.9 million annually).
- Mitigation of stormwater runoff. It is estimated that surface runoff is reduced by almost 24 percent by Toronto’s trees—reducing flooding and the costs of building and maintaining storm water sewers and treatment facilities.
Milling by: http://www.sawmillsid.ca/
For a full list of woodworkers in the area who can salvage and re-use a homeowner’s beloved neighbourhood tree, consult the Toronto Directory of Urban Wood Products and Services (PDF) for a woodworker near you.