Category Archives: heritage trees

Like Houses Heritage Trees Are Not Forever

A few years ago Heritage Caledon conducted a community tree hunt to seek out “Trees in Caledon that tell a story“.  These could be landmark specimens notable for their size and long history, trees closely associated with important local and national figures, local stories and myths, or trees marked for cultural reasons by the area’s indigenous occupants. The tree hunt was run in both 2012 and 2013 and resulted in a fine Town-wide collection of stories and pictures that were gathered into two booklets.

Sadly, but perhaps inevitably, one of the historic trees identified during the tree hunt succumbed   to an ice storm this Easter. It was one of two giant sugar maples on a 200-acre parcel of land, stretching from Mountainview to Airport Road and first owned by a Major Potter, who was perhaps granted it as a War of 1812 veteran. In 1817 he built a log cabin which may be the oldest remaining in Caledon. This tree at 200 years or so old was over three feet in diameter, and once part of a row of maples planted to mark out the roadway to the homestead. See the 20th page’s right hand picture in the 2012 Tree Booklet .

Caledon resident Paul Ross stands in front of a sugar maple tree believed to be more than 200 years old that split in half after the ice storm on Easter weekend.

Caledon resident’s 200 year-old sugar maple tree that split in half. Photo Caledon Enterprise

A landmark tree proposed in the hunt was ‘Henry the Elm’ (one theory is that ‘he’ is named after Henry Kock, the former U. of Guelph Arboretum elm tree recovery distinguished researcher). Henry stands out proudly in open country on the south edge of the Charleston Sideroad, east of the intersection with St. Andrew’s Road. Like the two ancient sugar maples referred to above, this fine upstanding tree is the remaining example of a row of elms planted in the late 19th century alongside a farm owned by Thomas McQuarrie, and is heritage designated so that he will be properly cared for. Henry is featured on the front cover of the 2012 booklet, and is far enough away from others of his kind that, treated with the respect he is now due by the Region of Peel, he should survive both storms and Dutch elm disease for many years to come.

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