For almost a century, Roncesvalles’s Silver Maple, located midway up the corridor slightly NE of High Park Blvd, has stood as a living testament. It has overseen evolving urban growth and settlement. It stood idly by and flourished throughout the decades of change. Historic changes that have modified our sleepy village east of the great High Park.
This tree surveyed modest community beginnings, when waves of Polish immigrants sought refuge in 1914, 1920-1939 and again in 1941. It heard tales of World Wars and the Great Depression. It was young then and had a nearby companion, sadly lost in this last, past decade. But no one mourned as we do with many of our resident elders, elders whom we respect and honor, for the lives they have lived.
And lived it had, despite concrete sidewalks and heavy pedestrian traffic, it has faithfully served as the lungs of our neighbourhood, neutralizing the carbon emissions escaping the parade of motorized vehicles that have drove past it everyday, throughout the decades.
It is quite unique, for it is believed to be one of Toronto’s oldest trees in a commercial district, how did it manage to survive? If each beautiful gnarled wart could tell a story, I’m sure there will be narratives of seasons passing, families strolling and businesses coming and going and many an anecdote of lives… well, lived.
It is time to respect our elder, our stately Sliver Maple who “we” and City Officials safequarded during the reconstruction of our street. This tree has been recently nominated, via video submission, to the Heritage Trees Ontario Program and I am proud to have spearheaded that endeavour.
As a volunteered environmental advocate, I personally hope to celebrate with you, when our moniker of Resilience can be commemorated for being the Grand Dame, that she is!