Forests Ontario

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The City of London officially launched National Forest Week

London, September 22, 2012 – Located in Westminster Ponds Environmentally Significant Area, the majestic White Oak is estimated to be well over 250 years old. It towers 31.5 metres skyward and its enormous trunk is 471 centimetres in circumference. It received heritage distinction under the Trees Ontario Ontario Heritage Tree Program, which 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,” says Robert Keen, CEO of Trees Ontario. “We’re aware of references to this tree as far back as 1793, when Lieutenant Governor John Graves Simcoe and his wife camped at Westminster Ponds before hiking to the forks of the Thames.”

Many impressive trees can be found throughout the city, especially in parks and older established neighbourhoods. National Forest Week is held each year to encourage greater awareness of the importance of Canada’s forests to our nation.

Mayor Fontana expressed his respect for London’s natural heritage. He said, “Nature is remarkable. When we consider how this tree has survived and grown over 250 years, how it has provided shelter, weathered hundreds of storms, braced against winter’s cold and returned green and welcoming each spring, we gaze in awe. Standing in the presence of this majestic white oak is a truly humbling experience. London is rich in heritage but none as enduring or valuable as our natural heritage, our living heritage.”

In celebration of National Forest Week, several planting events will be taking place. Free tree giveaways on National Tree Day, (Wednesday, September 26) are planned by the City of London, ReForest London and many corporate partners. Further details are available at

To learn more about the Ontario Heritage Tree Program, click here.