Preserving the Legacy of the Maple Leaf Forever Tree

What happens to urban trees when they come down? That’s the question I began asking myself back in 2012. After working on urban forest issues for over 18 years, it’s hard to believe it took me that long!


Only the pending removal of one of my own trees, a beloved and huge being that had shaded and protected me for years, made the penny drop.  I had come to the end of the line in extending my tree’s life - it was in severe decline and had undergone as many pruning sessions as it could withstand. Now, what would I do with the body of this faithful friend?  On July 2, 2013 LEAF organized our first Salvaging Urban Wood Tree Tour in the Junction.  The last stop was my backyard where my arborist and designer shared the story of how they worked together to take the tree down safely, mill the wood and create some beautiful items that I will cherish forever.


Salvaging TourJanet's Wood


Very shortly after that tour, on July 19, 2013, a storm brought down the Maple Leaf Forever tree, a silver maple that grew in Leslieville for well over 150 years.  This majestic tree was the inspiration for the song "Maple Leaf Forever" by Alexander Muir, written in 1867, the year of Confederation.  Thankfully, the City of Toronto salvaged the wood and is supporting many projects that ensure the legacy of the tree is preserved.


Maple Leaf Forever Tree


Today we’re launching one of those projects – the Maple Leaf Forever Exhibition and Auction!  Twelve unique designs, selected by a panel of judges and crafted by local designers, will be sold through an online auction.  A portion of the proceeds will support LEAF in our mission to engage the community in urban forest stewardship through planting, education and training. With support from people like you, we plant thousands of trees and shrubs and train hundreds of volunteers each year.


Janet's Bench


Visit our auction website to get a sneak peek at the designs (photos of each piece will be updated as the designers complete their work).  Then come to the Green Living Show, March 27-29, 2015 and see the items in person!  All bidding will take place online through the website.  You can bid anytime, starting now.  We’ll also have an iPad at the Green Living Show, so you can make your bids at the exhibit after seeing the items in person.  The auction closes at 5:00pm sharp on Sunday March 29, 2015 (the last day of the show).


Auction Item


Over the next two weeks, we will share guest blogs from some of the designers – starting with the Baker Brothers - giving more insight into their vision and the craftsmanship of their unique piece.  I encourage you to visit the auction website, peruse the items and make your bids!  Not only will you be supporting LEAF and local designers, but you’ll also be getting a piece of Canada’s history to cherish forever.

Janet McKay is the Founder and Executive Director of LEAF. She lives in the Junction amidst a grove of beautiful black locust trees. The Maple Leaf Forever Exhibition and Auction is supported by the City of Toronto, the Green Living Show and Ontario Wood.