Colette Slone initiated a heritage trees project with an email sent out on Nov. 11, 2012.
If you wish to help her with the project (outlined below), please contact her through the Preserved Stories website.
Ontario Trees Heritage Program
The following text, from the Ontario Heritage Trees website, describes the Trees Ontario Heritage Program:
Heritage trees are an important component of urban forestry. Their presence not only invokes an emotional response from communities, but they provide an ecological legacy of genetic material.
Trees Ontario’s, Ontario Heritage Tree Program identifies and records the location of heritage trees in the province. Heritage trees are identified and assessed based on their age, size, appearance, and most importantly their cultural and historical significance. The identification of these trees will enable Trees Ontario and community minded organizations to locate potential native seed sources of legacy trees. Collecting these seeds will ensure native stock is grown and available for future planting.
Anyone can nominate an eligible tree for Heritage Tree recognition, whether it is on your property, a friend or family member’s property, or in a public space. Help Trees Ontario recognize Heritage Trees in the province to ensure their survival and the successional planting of Legacy Trees. Stay tuned to the Heritage Trees website for more information on legacy seed collection opportunities in your community.
All qualifying trees that are nominated and/or recognized will be featured on the Trees Ontario Heritage Tree website.
The evaluation criteria used for the development of the Ontario Heritage Tree program was developed by the Ontario Urban Forest Council.
Colette Slone recently attended a Heritage Tree Workshop at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, hosted by the Ontario Urban Forest Council, and bought a copy of their Toolkit, which is also available at the Toronto Public Library.
“I believe these trees are more than worthy of a heritage distinction for their historical, cultural and biological significance,” she notes.
“This nomination program does not offer any sort of protection for the trees (knowing there are some plans afoot for some development on that site), but it would be a great first step in helping to rally community support and recognition of the orchard’s history.
“The long term goal would be to submit an application under the Ontario Heritage Act.
“This is a more intensive process, but one that would hopefully ensure that the trees are fully protected from development.”
Research for nomination form
Colette Slone adds that in order to start the process there is a lot of research and work to do in order to prepare the necessary information for the nomination form.
“From what I’ve been told,” she notes, “it is important to collect as much information and documentation as possible, so what I’m hoping is that you might be able to help me gather information or suggest others who might be interested in joining the project.
“I’d like to start photographing the entire grove and surrounding landscape, from all possible angles, centralize this information somewhere online, gather archival evidence, and get in touch with as many people as possible to gauge community sentiment and amass support.
“I am also planning to get in touch with the Humber College Centre for Urban Ecology, along with a few other folks who know about trees to help with the technical aspects of the nomination form.”
Information about the nomination program is available at the above-noted link.
“I would be so grateful,” adds Colette Slone, “for any information whatsoever about this orchard, its historical significance or anything that you know of its current status. If you would like to get involved, or if you have any ideas about how we might be able to move forward on this project, please feel free to [contact me]. Let’s get together and celebrate the orchard!”
Arborist research regarding the orchard
An arborist who knows the orchard well has offered the following comments (Nov. 15, 2012):
“I have a fairly in-depth knowledge of the trees in the old orchard, as I think I mentioned to you a long time ago. Over several years in the 90s, my arborist students at Humber North Campus came down to work on the orchard under my supervision.
“I also did an inventory of all the existing trees on the hospital property when Humber did the first work on the existing buildings, the ridiculous sidewalk in front that killed most of the trees, and the reconstruction of Kipling south of Lakeshore. At that time I recommended preservation of as many of the trees in the orchard as possible, including one large healthy prominent tree that had partially up-rooted and was laying on its side.
“Although it was my understanding that none of the apple varieties had any significant heritage species value (earlier expert assessment by others), I felt that they were an important remaining element of the grounds and managed produce gardens of the hospital and as such deserved priority consideration during the future planning process. They also provide an excellent opportunity for teaching a variety of subjects at elementary and secondary school levels.
“I would certainly recommend saving as many of the trees in the section of orchard south of the walkway as possible. Remove the dead trees and replant with young trees selected from varieties that were present when the orchard was actively managed. Prune the remaining trees to remove dead or diseased wood and also to crown-reduce long end-heavy limbs susceptible to failure due to either fruit load or external forces (mostly wind, but possibly heavy wet snow or ice).
“I would definitely caution against carving a walkway through this section. Walkways no matter how they are constructed will interfere with the continuum of the soil-root reservoir utilized by the roots of the trees and this will result in decline in health. If construction of a more permanent walkway is plan and requires any excavation deeper than a couple of inches, you can expect loss of and damage to roots that will manifest itself in tree dieback, declining health, etc.”
Toronto Catholic District School Board
We await details regarding plans for a new TCDSB elementary school.
It’s my understanding that the latest plans for the new school call for the orchard south of the walkway to be preserved but with a path running diagonally through it. The school, as I understand, is opposed to daylighting the creek which was something that Citizens Concerned About the Future of the Etobicoke Waterfront has favoured.
It has also been noted that the plan drawing at the Friends of Sam Smith Park website refers to a “Proposed orchard rejuvenation with new specimens.”
It has also been noted that a group called Friends of Sam Smith has been involved in discussions with the TCSB regarding the construction of the new school. The latter group has been advocating for tree planting and retention on the site.
If you wish to contact Colette Slone, please leave a comment below or send an email via the Contact Us page.