Ottawa Heritage Tree Workshop, 2012

 Ottawa Heritage Tree Workshop June 8 – 9, 2012

 CLASSROOM SESSION – Central Experimental Farm –FRIDAY June 8, 2012

 What was planned by the Ontario Urban Forest Council and Trees Ontario, as a modest “workshop” for June 8th morphed into a full blown informal “conference” with more than 75 attendees. The day was opened by Member of Parliament for Ottawa-Orléans federal constituency, Royal Galipeau, reminiscing on the important trees in his life and providing an inspiration for all.

 Mike Rosen, President of Tree Canada and MC for the day, kept the speakers on their tight schedule and maintained the flow as experts provided an overview of tree celebration and commemoration initiatives in the Ottawa area. These presentations included local history such as the designation of the Maple trees of Richelieu Park under Part IV, s. 29 of the Ontario Heritage Act and an overview of the fascinating Bytown Museum exhibit, Six Moments in the History of the Urban Forest (Ottawa), curated by Joanna E. Dean, Ph.D., Department of History, Carleton University. These were a few of the case studies that illustrated a “how to” session on undertaking cultural heritage research on trees. It is the combined natural and cultural features that define our heritage trees!



 The PROGRAM provides the range of expert speakers that provided an overview to the participants on how to define, research, identify, evaluate, commemorate and protect heritage trees in the Ottawa region.

 The agenda left little time for questions, but there was an active hand-on field session after the presentations that “Certified” participants interested in being “heritage tree evaluators”.

Through the courtesy of our speakers, these presentations will soon be available as downloadable PDFs.


A bus tour led by Jack Radecki, R.P.F. started at Central Experimental Farm in Ottawa in the Arboretum which displays a wide range of established trees and shrubs some dating back to 1889, the date that the Arboretum was established. The Arboretum covers about 26 hectares of rolling land between Prince of Wales Drive and the Rideau Canal and many of the trees and shrubs planted in 1889 are now among the largest specimens of their species in Canada. In 1889, little was known about the hardiness of exotic plants in the Ottawa area, so most of the trees were obtained from the famous nurseries of Spaeth in Germany, Louis Freres in France, Ellwanger and Barry in Rochester, N.Y., and the Arnold Arboretum in Jamaica Plains, Mass. Some of the plants from the Arnold Arboretum were from explorers in China, including Drs. E.Wilson and J. Rock.

Rideau Hall was next on the trip.  Since the early 1900s, important visitors have “planted” their own trees at Rideau Hall, taking a ceremonial spade in hand and tossing a scoop of soil at the foot of a young tree. There are more than 120 ceremonial trees at Rideau Hall, and to walk through the grounds is to walk through history.

Lunch took place at Richelieu Park, a beautiful 10-acre heritage park and forest. This Vanier area park can be described as one of the finest working urban sugar bushes in North America and is located right in the city.

Daniel Buckles, Ph.D., Secretary of the Champlain Park Community Association  introduced participants to the ‘Champlain Oaks’ whose historical and cultural significance motivated Daniel and three community groups to petition the City of Ottawa to list these 106 bur oaks on the City’s Heritage Register. The felling of one of the oldest (150 yrs) of these trees on Easter Monday 2011 prompted major community calls for protection and celebration of these trees. A wonderful “tea party” hosted by a resident of the area ended an amazingly diverse and interesting tour.

This event was made possibly through the generous contributions of: