It all started back in 2017, when Sophia was just six-years-old and saw her favourite 250-year-old heritage red oak tree featured on the news. She was devastated to hear that the owner of the tree wanted to chop it down. Full of tears, she said, “Mama, what can I do?” So, she started her mission by raising money and speaking about her majestic tree by having lemonade stands, garage sales, going door to door and asking her family and friends for donations. Then, on July 23, 2018, Sophia wrote a letter towards the City of Toronto’s item on the 250-year-old heritage red oak tree asking to save her favourite tree. With great news, The City of Toronto agreed to purchase the property and to establish the space as a parkette to preserve and showcase this beautiful example of our natural heritage.
The completion of the sale is conditional upon the community raising half of the funds; $430,000 by December 12, 2020.
Sophia has always been in love with this 250-year-old heritage red oak tree and out of that love she was inspired to create the “Tree of Hope” bracelets in efforts to heal the hearts of many during these unprecedented times by having her tree’s triumph as a symbol of hope, and while doing so, she would donate the proceeds towards the purchase of the property and its red oak tree.
Why does this tree signify hope?
The astonishing, awarded heritage red oak tree is estimated to be over 250-years-old and holds a legacy of being there before our country was called Canada, before there was a City named Toronto; easily predating Confederation in 1867.
Can you imagine the obstacles that this tree has conquered and survived across its 250 years? Diseases, growth competition, natural damage, logging which stripped our mature oak savannah leaving us to imagine what the mother tree to this 250-year-old tree would look like to urbanization, and in the 20th century, global warming and climate change. On a physical point, it stands tall and mighty over 79 metres high with a circumference of 16 feet and holds more than 19 tons of carbon above ground.
This tree has earned the right to represent hope and strength for all of us and young Sophia understood that when she created her homemade “Tree of Hope” bracelets. “Trees are treasures and this is a big one,” said Sophia.
If you are interested in purchasing the symbolic "Tree of Hope" bracelet please email Sophia at firstname.lastname@example.org
Or, you can donate towards the “Tree of Hope,” as Sophia would like to call it, by visiting http://www.toronto.ca/redoak
This blog was written by Maria Maiolo, proud mother to Sophia.