After the Battle of Vimy Ridge during the First World War, Canadian solider Leslie Miller took a handful of acorns from a half-buried oak tree on the battle grounds. When he returned to Canada after the war, he planted them on his farm in Scarborough. Several of these oaks survive, though there are none remaining at the Vimy Ridge site.
In 2015, arborists began using cuttings from the original oak trees and grafting them to base root stock to create saplings. The Vimy Foundation has been working on repatriating some of the Oaks back to Vimy as a way to “help preserve Canada’s First World War legacy through the creation of a living memorial.”
Saplings were also made available for private planting in Canada to commemorate the Battle of Vimy Ridge. The University of Toronto obtained two of these saplings and we had the great privilege of planting them in the spring of 2017.
Along with the planting, we are involved in the ongoing care of these trees, making sure that – especially in their first few years in a new environment – they can establish themselves and thrive.
Trees are living legacies and we are proud to be involved in the care of preservation of these oaks. We hope that they take to their new home and grow to serve as memorials for decades to come.
Be good to your trees.
Kristie Nairn, MA, MMst
Cohen & Master Tree and Shrub Services Ltd.