NEWS

City to honour Maple Leaf Forever tree

07/26/2013 06:49 EDT | Updated 09/25/2013 05:12 EDT
A silver maple tree, a much-loved symbol of Toronto, came crashing to the ground last Friday during a summer rainstorm but Torontonians say they're not going to let it die.

The tree was reputed to be the inspiration for the song The Maple Leaf Forever.

The city has collected up the remnants from the tree — the trunk, limbs and braches —and is now trying to figure out what to do with what's left of it.

"This had a huge value in life," said Rob McMonagle of the City of Toronto. "But it also has a huge value in death."

People and groups from across the city have been calling with suggestions from "the Queen's Own Rifles wanting to use a piece of the wood as part of their heritage, right to people wanting to use it for firewood - but we're not going to let it be used for firewood," said McMonagle.

Joanne Doucette is a local historian who's researched the history behind the tree and the song and discovered there's no city plaque and there's no historical society plaque because there's no history to the tree.

Doucette says the composer of the song, Alexander Muir, was inspired by "a maple leaf [that] floated down and landed on his collar, shoulder, and [his companion] said, 'There's your inspiration,'"

But that tree was located a few blocks away and is no longer standing.

But local residents agree they want the tree honoured in some way.

"Have maybe a guitar built out of it," said David Carey, "maybe an artist write a song."

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