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Latest Ontario Heritage Trees Celebrate Windsor’s Pre-Confederation History and Connections to War of 1812

WINDSOR, May 8th, 2017 – Forests Ontario is pleased to announce the recognition of two Ontario Heritage Trees in Windsor. Both trees are living monuments rooted in Windsor’s pre-confederation  past and boast connections to figures connected to the War of 1812.

Trees are not just beautiful landmarks and the heart of healthy ecosystems, but characters in the stories that form our history. In celebration of Canada’s sesquicentennial, Forests Ontario and TD Bank Group invite Ontarians to help us collect and tell the stories of 150 heritage trees across the province.

225 Year Old Sycamore Thrives Through Centuries of Change in Roseland District

The first of the two recognized trees is a 225 year old sycamore located in the Roseland Residential District, which has gone through significant changes in the last 100 years. Before becoming a part of the City of Windsor in 1978, the area was occupied by the Roseland Park Country Club.

Prior to the development of the site as a golf course and country club in 1926, records show the property having been owned by the McKee and Marantette families, both of whom played key roles in the development of the Town of Sandwich, now part of the City of Windsor. The property would eventually pass through the ownership of members of both families who served in the war of 1812.

Thriving through all of these changes was the 225 year old sycamore measuring 30 metres that still stands today, a remnant of Windsor’s pre-Confederation history.

“TD has a longstanding presence in Windsor, which has always been welcoming to us,” says Carolyn Scotchmer of TD Bank Group. “TD loves having the opportunity to promote and celebrate Windsor and share the many things that make it a great place to live and work. With the recognition of two Ontario Heritage Trees here, we’re honoured to support a program that shares stories of Windsor’s rich history and natural heritage.”

Jesuit Pear Tree Located on National Historic Site Symbolizes Canada’s Early Connections with New France

Forests Ontario also recognized an ancient Jesuit pear tree on the property of Maison Francois Baby House, a historic residence one owned by prominent local politician Francois Baby. The house, a designated National Historical Site, was used as a headquarters by both American and British Forces during the War of 1812.

This species was introduced into the region by the Jesuits at the beginning of the 18th century, and remain a symbol of the Detroit Region’s French-speaking community, which has committed to preserving the species throughout the region.

The tree in Windsor is the parent of dozens of Jesuit pear seedlings raised in the City of Windsor’s greenhouse and planted across the province. Recipient of seedlings include Hamilton’s Royal Botanical Gardens, the City of Guelph, and Toronto Botanical Gardens.

“Each tree we recognize this year brings more and more light to Ontario’s history,” says Rob Keen, CEO of Forests Ontario. “Trees connect us and no matter where we live, we value the richness they bring to our community. Each tree, however, has a unique back-story that highlights a piece of history in each community that we share through the Ontario Heritage Tree Program.”

We encourage all Ontarians to continue to share their heritage tree stories with us. The next deadline for the consideration of nominated heritage trees is May 31st, 2017; the second is September 22nd, 2017.

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For more information, photos, or to arrange an interview please contact:

Jeannette Holder

Communications Manager, Forests Ontario

Ph: 416-646-1193 ext. 257

E: jholder@forestsontario.ca

ABOUT FORESTS ONTARIO

Forests Ontario is the voice for our forests. Working to promote a future of healthy forests sustaining healthy people, Forests Ontario is committed to the re-greening of Ontario through tree planting efforts on rural lands and in urban areas, as well as the renewal and stewardship of Ontario’s forests through restoration, education and awareness. Visit www.forestsontario.ca or follow us @Forests_Ontario.

About the Heritage Tree Program

Forests Ontario’s Heritage Tree Program collects and tells the stories of Ontario’s diverse and unique trees and brings awareness to the social, cultural, historical, and ecological value of trees. Trees are nominated for recognition based on distinctness in size, form, age, rarity, or their connection with historically significant events, individuals, or locations. More about the Heritage Tree Program can be read here.