The two trees came from clippings transplanted in the 1950s by Spencer Smith, a local entrepreneur and long-time member of the Burlington Horticultural Society, after whom the park is named. Over time the trees have provided shelter, shade, beauty, and lasting memories of significant events that happened under her branches.
To recognize and honour these trees, I am planning a ceremony to remember the trees before they are removed:
Date: Monday June 6, 7pm
Location: Gazebo, Spencer Smith Park
Please join me, and spread the word to friends and neighbours. Kindly bring your own lawn chair or blanket.
I am also exploring options to preserve some of the wood for public art or other public uses, and cuttings will be taken for replantings. See details below.
Do you have a special memory of the willow trees? Please send them to Georgie.Gartside@Burlington.ca. We will collect these and determine an appropriate way to display and share these memories.
I hope to see you Monday! Enjoy your weekend and plan a trip to the park for a last opportunity to take a photograph with these beautiful heritage landmarks in our community.
Why are they coming down?
During a recent investigation, the city’s arborist found significant rotting and areas of decay, especially on the upper branches. An independent analysis of the tree condition confirmed they must be removed. I hate to see trees cut, but public safety is paramount.
When will the removal start and end?
The city will bring tree removal equipment into the park on June 7 to remove most of the two trees, starting with the upper branches. The eight-foot-high trunks will be removed after the Sound of Music Festival, which runs from June 16 to 19.
What’s happening with the wood?
The city will keep 70 clippings of the willow trees for rooting and replanting, one for each year of the trees’ lives. The healthy portions at the base of the trees will be kept for future art or woodworking opportunities.