Trees planted along Highway of Heroes as tribute to Canada's war dead
By Terry Davidson
, Toronto Sun
First posted: Friday, November 04, 2016 09:53 PM EDT | Updated: Friday, November 04, 2016 09:54 PM EDT
TORONTO - Canada’s gardening guru has taken to planting trees for the nation’s fallen soldiers.
Mark Cullen was in attendance Friday at Centennial College in Scarborough, where the Highway of Heroes Living Tribute, of which he is chair, celebrated the first year of its epic tree-planting campaign in honour of Canada’s war dead.
Thus far, the initiative has seen the planting of 3,000 trees as part of its ultimate goal of 117,000 — each one, say organizers, representing Canadians killed in combat since Confederation — along the Highway of Heroes, the 170-km stretch of Hwy. 401 between Canadian Forces Base Trenton and the coroner’s office in Toronto.
“The concept ... really began with a bunch of not-for-profit tree planters getting together, saying, ‘The urban tree canopy has been in decline for 50 years. What are we going to do?’” Cullen said. “It was ... Tony DiGiovanni of Landscape Ontario who said, ‘Why don’t we do a reforestation of the Highway of Heroes?’
“And it worked out perfectly because we believe ... there is room on the (highway) corridor for about 117,000 trees — one for each of Canada’s war dead.”
Cullen also announced Friday a plan to plant 2.1 million “service” trees in community areas around the highway in honour of those who’ve served Canada in wars and conflict zones.
Scarborough-Guildwood MP John McKay took his time at the podium to talk of his “hero,” former general Romeo Dallaire, who was witness to the Rwandan genocide of 1994 during his time as commander of the United Nations peacekeeping force.
“Romeo has struggled with (post-traumatic stress disorder) ... for 15 years,” said McKay. “Heroes come among us in many shapes and forms. When I see this tree as I drive into this parking lot from time to time ... this will be, for me, Romeo Dallaire’s tree.”
TDavidson@postmedia.com (external - login to view)
Centennial College president Ann Buller, from left, Scarborough-Guildwood MP John McKay, Highway of Heroes Living Tribute chair Mark Cullen and Scarborough-Agincourt MPP Soo Wong plant a tree along the Highway of Heroes on Friday, November 4, 2016. (Dave Thomas/Toronto Sun)
Trees planted along Highway of Heroes as tribute to Canada's war dead | Canada |