Readers write about their favourite trees

On an island where more than 30 soccer fields worth of old growth are logged every day, the loss of a single tree might not seem like that big a deal.

Don’t tell that to fans of a windswept horse chestnut tree, which was cut down Friday to make room for a new bike lane and sewer pipeline along Dallas Road.

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Inspired by the outpouring of support for the chestnut, we asked you: What’s your favourite tree?

Here are some of your responses.

Many people named the Dallas Road tree that was removed as their favourite:

For over 65 years, the leaning horse chestnut tree on Dallas Road, shaped by the ocean winds coming up the cliffs, has had a part in our family life.

On family drives with my brothers when I was a small boy, our dad would drive under the tree and tell us to duck when we passed under its sloping branches. The whole family would pretend to duck, usually with shrieks of laughter, as we drove by.

Later, as parents, we continued that tradition with our children, and now, as grandparents, just as our granddaughter is old enough to appreciate the fun, we will be deprived of this harmless family tradition. We have always known that particular tree in family lore as “the Duck Tree.”

No replacement tree will ever be able to confer such innocent pleasure. If it goes, it will be sorely missed.

Stuart Stark

 

I am 84, born in Victoria and started my life in James Bay. My mom had a picture of me in a baby carriage by the leaning tree. I wish I had that picture now. My other favourite trees are the one beside Queen Victoria’s statue in front of the parliament buildings, and the beautiful Arbutus across from the petting zoo in Beacon Hill Park. We’ve had many pictures taken with kids on that tree.

Ena (Mickie Holt)

 

That gorgeous windswept tree on Dallas was my favourite tree. It represented fortitude, adaptation and beauty. All our guests to the city are treated to a drive along Dallas and the tree always brought great conversation. That said, everything has its time and with fondness and gratitude we say farewell and look forward to the new trees that will be planted in its place.

Linda Gould

 

The tree I love the most is the one they’re tearing down! I’m so sad to hear this. Growing up in Victoria, as a family, we would get ice-cream cones from Beacon Drive-In and drive along Dallas Road taking in the gorgeous scenery.

Part of that scenery was the tree we all knew as the “leaning tree.”

I can’t believe that as I read your article, I actually shed some tears. Another piece of my childhood gone forever.

Robin H.

 

Of course the windswept tree on Dallas Road. I regret losing it as it has always been there for a long as I can remember, which is 80 years.

Donna Mars

 

In the early 1960s, I moved here to attend the university, so long ago, that for my first year, it was still located on Landsdowne and called the Victoria College. I fell in love with that windswept little tree on Dallas Road. I had come originally from the northern part of B.C.’s West Coast, where all the trees were huge and grew straight up. I thought that tough little bent tree and all the crooked oak trees growing here in Victoria were the most beautiful things I had ever seen. I felt I had landed somewhere exotic and romantic, and I promised myself that I would eventually move and settle down here. And about 15 years later, I did, and I’m still here. That little bent tree on Dallas is still my favourite and I now live but a five-minute walk away.

Frances

 

There were lots of other favourites:

My favourite tree, the one that leaves me truly awestruck, is the one at the corner of Moss and Richardson streets. I stare at that giant tree and become fascinated with the way it towers over the homes on Moss Street.

N. J. Wood

 

Since moving to my James Bay neighbourhood, I’ve loved my walks past a beautiful tree I’ve dubbed “The Broccoli Tree,” at the corner of Montreal and Michigan streets. I love the way the trunk just sticks up out of the hedge.

It might not be iconic, like the big cedar in front of the legislature, but it makes me smile as it grows through the seasons, providing lovely shade and presence for this part of my world.

Robert Thompson

 

I think the tree just outside the Campus Honda dealership is awesome. I’ve often wondered if it’s the largest in Victoria.

Mike Smyth

 

After admiring the sensational copper beech tree behind the legislative buildings for decades when I worked in the Douglas Building at Superior and Government, I recently read Dave Obee’s The Library Book and came across a picture of that same beautiful tree and learned it was planted in 1920.

As my mother, Thelma Fayle Sr., was born in the same year, and both she and the tree are still thriving in their 99th year, I took my mom down a few months ago and photographed her with her cohort tree. They are both hardy beauties as far as my family is concerned.

It will break my heart if that tree goes down. I like thinking it will be there long after most of us are gone.

Thelma Fayle Jr.

 

My two favourite Garry oak trees are beside Esquimalt’s town hall and library. My heart fell when I saw a red plastic ribbon nailed to one of the trees. When I checked with the Parks Department, I was assured that the tree is not being cut down. Kudos to them for saving these trees amid new construction.

Dorothy Curtiss

 

Thanks for inviting us to submit a picture of our favourite tree. Actually three trees, a trilogy of blue spruce. They stand like guardians along the alley next to our allotment gardens in James Bay (Montreal Street Community Garden), and are home to many creatures whose songs or cries (in the case of crows, loud caws) provide much enjoyment while gardening. There’s another blue spruce, standing like the trilogy as a guardian along the alleyway.

Natasha van Bentum

 

The one at the corner of St. Charles and Dallas. It’s like a sentinel for the beginning (or the end, depending) of the great walk.

Laura Nielsen

 

Some people didn’t want to share their favourites:

I shall never disclose my favourite tree

Lest they wring their soft hands with a raze-and-fell glee.

Brooke Carter

 

Why would I want to draw the city’s attention to any trees that I like? Seems risky!

Dave Larose

 

I am afraid if I identify it, it will be the next one this council will select! I am saddened and exhausted at their destruction of our precious tree canopy.

Sandra J. Nickel

 

While others thought the whole thing was blown out of proportion:

With all due respect, I do think think that the controversy surrounding the cutting down of the “windswept horse chestnut tree” on Dallas Road counts as a “First World Problem.”

John Dower

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