Some years ago a very old Maple tree, some 170 years old, blew down in a windstorm in Toronto. This particular tree had an interesting history in that it was believed to be the tree that inspired Alexander Muir to write the song “The Maple Leaf Forever” in 1867. This song stood as the unofficial national anthem of Canada for some time.
In preparation for Canada’s sesquicentennial ( 150 years ) celebration this July 1st, the Ontario Wood Carvers Association got hold of a portion of this old tree over three years ago and began the design work and the carving of the tree trunk as a Toronto area tribute.
Thirty Maple “Leafs” are situated around the trunk, each with a particular image representing famous people ( including Muir ), famous landmarks and area First Nation artifacts and scenes.
I’ll be taking part in completing the “monument” by carving a depiction of the Toronto Old City Hall. I’m starting next week and will be carving a couple of days at the Ontario Science Centre in Toronto, where the tree will continue to be on display after it’s finished.
Last week, I spent a few hours at the Ontario Science Centre and enjoyed chatting with the other carvers and hearing the young visitors’ questions…one question aimed at me by a youngster was “Isn’t it illegal to be carving a tree”…certainly a young fellow on his way to a career in litigation.