Toronto finally decides to save the city's oldest tree and make it the focal point of a new park
Residents of Toronto have long been fighting a bit of an usual battle pertaining not to the pandemic, the housing crisis, or one of a number of relevant human rights issues, but to something a little more simple: the city's oldest tree.
The public and select officials have banded together to try and save the distinguished red oak tree near Weston and Sheppard, which is predicted to be anywhere from a whopping 250 to 370 years old — meaning it was alive far before Canada was pronounced its own country.
This beautiful heritage, red oak tree put down its roots in Toronto more than two and a half centuries ago! Help the #CityofTO preserve this majestic tree at https://t.co/zs0JAm2fxN. #DonateTO #heritagetree pic.twitter.com/NWPg6G7u3j— City of Toronto (@cityoftoronto) January 2, 2020
Various fundraising efforts to help the city purchase the private property the flora sits on amid a quiet residential neighbourhood have been ongoing for years, and have also sadly fallen short of their goal.
The fate of the tree was up in the air for some time, and up until recently, it seemed that we may indeed lose it.
But, Toronto City Council this week finally voted to purchase the home at 76 Coral Gable Drive nonetheless, using, in part, the $313,000 collectively put forth by members of the community, as well as a generous purse from an anonymous donor.
Staff say they’ve raised $313K to buy this property with the 250-year-old tree. There’s a donor willing to put up half of the remainder of what’s needed, leaving them $40K short.— Matt Elliott (@GraphicMatt) November 26, 2020
Based on some estimates, it could cost about a million dollars between acquiring the home and demolishing it to create a new parkette with the ancient deciduous monument at its centre — a fair trade off to preserve one of the few tangible pieces of such old history that the city has, and to provide the city with some much-needed additional green space, however small.
Here’s a concept rendering of what the park could look like, if this goes forward. pic.twitter.com/Hu0LREQPKF— Matt Elliott (@GraphicMatt) November 26, 2020
Some notable quotes from the discussion about the tree at council today include "it's an oak tree, not a money tree" from naysayers, though the motion to preserve it passed 17-5 at the November meeting.
Citizens can also still donate to the cause to help the city fund the project online here.
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