Heritage Tree Preservation – A Success Story

The beginning of a new year is a good time for story telling and while this story is familiar to some it never hurts to repeat a good true story to inspire a new audience or remind us of our motivation. The Great White Bronte Oak is now an Urban (Forest) Legend exemplifying the power of one determined and committed individual’s ability to affect change and become a rallying point for like-minded people.

This 260+ -year-old tree was already more than 50 when Oakville was founded and was on the verge of being summarily axed to make way for a new highway when Joyce Burnell stepped into the fray. Encouraged by Ward 4 Regional Councillor Allan Elgar, Burnell rallied support and funds to save the tree.


After much lobbying and community involvement finally the Town, the Region and the Province came together to save the tree.

In August 2011 Oakville City Council unanimously approved their intention to designate the Bronte White Oak Tree under the Ontario Heritage Act. Once the process is complete, the Bronte White Oak Tree will be the first heritage designated tree on the Oakville Heritage Register.

“We rarely see 250-year-old white oak trees anymore in Oakville or southern Ontario,” said Mayor Rob Burton. “Council and I recognize the relationship this tree has to our town’s heritage”.

Video story of the Bronte Oak seedlings. http://vimeo.com/25483801

Tree Stories- educational stories about trees.  http://treestory.wordpress.com/episodes/