History of the Great White Bronte Oak

This 260-year-old tree is one of only five white oaks remaining in Oakville that predate European settlement.

In 1750, when this tree began to grow, the industrial revolution was just beginning in Europe, the American revolution hadn’t started and Canada was still 117 years away from becoming a country. Oakville hadn’t yet been founded but when it was, more than 50 years later, it was partly because of the many white oaks in the area that the British prized for shipbuilding.

The Bronte White Oak was lucky to have survived the logging that felled virtually all of its contemporaries. However you might say, that even though it was out of the woods, it wasn’t out of danger.

In recent decades, the magnificent Bronte Oak was twice saved from destruction through the hard work of citizens.

In the 1970s, when the tree was threat- ened by utility work, property owner George Atkins got the Province to agree that “every possible precaution will be taken to guard the safety of the tree.”

The tree survived and became a significant Oakville landmark with its prominent position in front of the Regional Centre.

But in 2006, a new danger loomed. The Region wanted to expand Bronte Road and they said the tree would have to come down.

That’s when an 86-year-old retired school teacher, writer and historian Joyce Burnell stepped into the fray. Encouraged by Ward 4 Regional Councillor Allan Elgar, Burnell rallied support and funds to save the tree. School children collected coins, singer Sarah Harmer held a concert and finally the Town, the Region and the Province came together to save the tree.

Today, Bronte Road divides and flows around what former University of Toronto forestry professor Erik Jorgensen described as “a most beautiful and valuable tree”.

Click here to see the whole brochure and information about its seedlings Bronte Oak Brochure

With Thanks to: www.oakvillegreen.org