Trees add to Life

Trees are part of our district’s heritage. For more than a century, the forests have been harvested—first for the sawmills that were found across the district and then for the paper mills.
We recognize the role trees have played in the development of our communities—and the role they continue to provide.
Early European settlers planted elm trees throughout Fort Frances. Far earlier people planted the oaks that are found on the banks of the Rainy River. From time to time, the citizens of the district have planted trees to mark important activities.
During the Second World War, people raised funds for victory by planting elm trees along Highway 11/71 to recognize the young men who left from the district to fight in the war.
Many of those surviving elm trees still can be seen between Fort Frances and Emo.
Back in 1978, the Fort Frances Jaycees ran a project called the “Greening of Fort Frances,” the focus of which was to encourage home owners to plant trees in their yards and boulevards.
It also included the planting of flowering crabs in the courthouse block and the basswood trees around the Fort Frances Civic Centre.
The program was designed to encourage residents to replace the elm trees that were being lost every year to Dutch elm disease. Today, many of our sidewalks and streets again are being shaded by those trees.
Morley Township also planted trees to mark its centennial last year.
Last week, the Fort Frances Chamber of Commerce called for sponsors to purchase more than 40 baskets of flowers to be placed along King’s Highway and Central avenue, making the gateway to Northwestern Ontario more attractive.
The Town of Fort Frances called upon the community to help pay for the trees planted along the La Verendrye Parkway. Those trees, measuring only three cm in girth, will grow to shade pedestrians enjoying the waterfront of the community.
They also mark the confidence that Fort Frances residents have in the community’s future.
This year, La Vallee and Rainy River both will celebrate their 100th anniversaries. I would hope they, too, will plant trees as a sign to future generations that they have confidence in the future of their community.
In the coming weeks, Canada will celebrate Earth Day along with people from around the world and in June, we will participate in Arbour Day. We can celebrate both occasions by participating in tree plantings.
Many of the streets in Fort Frances and across the district lack the gentle swaying grace that trees provide year-round. Once the trees are established, neighborhoods discover they begin attracting a wider variety of birds.
The trees we plant around our homes can be more than just a good environment for wildlife. They also can deliver shade in the summer to cool our homes, and act as wind barriers in the winter to protect our homes from severe cooling temperatures.
The blossoming flowers that brighten our late spring days deliver back to us the freshness and goodness of fruit in the fall. And those fresh-picked apples and plums cannot be matched in goodness.
And even though the fall season begins, the trees of the community shower us with a myriad of golds, yellows, crimsons, and reds. Each season, trees add to our community.
As is the case every year, my thoughts begin turning to what will be planted in my flower gardens and the changes we will make to our yards and neighbourhoods.
This past weekend saw many a householder out beginning their outdoor spring clean-up. As I picked up my Christmas lights from around the shrubbery, I noticed the day lilies already were pointing their buds through the snow on the north side of my home.
A shoot has now grown to a height of six feet on one of my white birch clumps, and I will have to make a decision to trimming or allowing a new growth to spring up.
I have an apple tree that yields bushel baskets of small wormy fruit in August and is shading out my patio. So a debate rages in my mind of whether or not it should be removed and what I will put back in its place.

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