A beloved landmark may soon get some much-deserved recognition.
The gnarled tree at Indian Landing is photographed year-round for its unique character and location, stretching out over the Muskoka River in Port Sydney. A local resident, Jennifer Falvy, approached Town staff with an initiative to nominate the tree for recognition by the Forests Ontario Heritage Tree Program. (See a video of the tree filmed by Falvy at the end of this post.)
In order to qualify for the program, Forests Ontario notes that a tree has to be “associated with a historic person or event, or may be growing on land that is historically significant. Candidate Heritage Trees are also assessed for form, shape, beauty, age, colour, size, rarity, genetic constitution or other distinctive features and/or as a prominent community landmark, however its historical or cultural significance is of most importance.” The program launched in 2009 in partnership with the Ontario Urban Forest Council.
In the nomination materials prepared by Falvy, she writes, “Not only is the tree loved by locals and travellers but it is also loved by those that have not even visited it in person… We are hopeful that the tree will receive this honour of formal recognition. Its wide reaching branches are symbolic of how it has touched the lives of so many and becoming a Heritage Tree is a beautiful way for us to say thank you.”
If approved, Forests Ontario would provide a small plaque — approximately 3″ x 4″ — at no cost to the Town. Forests Ontario recommended affixing the plaque to the tree but Town staff rejected that idea, instead suggesting that it be installed on a post a short distance from the tree.
“We felt people in the community may be upset (by affixing the plaque to the tree),” said Teri Souter, the Town’s Manager of Arts, Culture and Heritage, at the February 12 Municipal Heritage Committee meeting. “When the tree is in foliage, the plaque wouldn’t be visible and if people went close to look it may damage the tree.”
Deputy Mayor Karin Terziano questioned the Parks department’s estimated $300 cost to install the post, and Councillor Bob Stone wondered why, if Forests Ontario says the plaque wouldn’t damage the tree, the Town wouldn’t go ahead and attach it there.
But Councillors Nancy Alcock and Jonathan Wiebe both agreed that a post would be better for the tree.
“I think that it should be away from the tree. It’s true that that tree because of the way it hangs, if you wanted to venture in there you would end up breaking branches,” said Wiebe, adding that he’d be willing to donate a post for the plaque.
Souter said that if the nomination is approved by Forests Ontario and the plaque is ready in time, the Town hopes to do an unveiling around Earth Day (April 22).
Don’t miss out on Doppler! Sign up for our free newsletter here.