UXBRIDGE: Uxbridge Township has received 11 Vimy Oaks saplings, to be planted in places of historical significance, for the 100th anniversary of Vimy Ridge.
The idea to bring the oaks to Uxbridge came from Councillor Barton, after he told council the story of Vimy Oaks during a council meeting in May.
After the battle at Vimy Ridge was fought, an area once thriving with oak trees was almost completely bare. Canadian soldier, Lesley Miller saw this as an opportunity to send some of the fallen oaks acorns back to Canada, to create something to remember for future generations.
The acorns were planted and Vimy Oaks farm was born, located in Scarborough, Lesley’s hometown.
100 years later the oak trees have produced 100 offspring, and the government of Canada has made an initiative to have the oaks planted in places of historical significance.
Regional Councillor Jack Ballinger wrote in a justification to the government for 11 Vimy Oaks to be planted in 11 different locations throughout Uxbridge, and he received every one of them.
Councillor Ballinger told the Standard, these trees will serve as a reminder of the great strength Canadians showed during the battle of Vimy Ridge.
“They certainly represent what an oak tree stands for, strength and endurance.” Councillor Ballinger said. “When these oaks grow, they grow tall and have a huge canopy on them. I mean metres and metres of canopy that are over top.”
Oak trees have a lifespan of around 1000 years, so these trees will serve the community for a long time.
Nine of the 11 Vimy oaks have been planted throughout Uxbridge, with only two left to be planted, one at Colonel Sam Sharpe’s house and the other at the Uxbridge Cemetery.
Colonel Sam Sharpe led the 116th battalion and fought in Vimy Ridge along with all the other major battles during World War One, making his house a great spot for a Vimy Oak.
Five of the Vimy Oak saplings were planted in the hamlets throughout Uxbridge, because many soldiers are from those areas.
“Soldiers from Uxbridge Township came from every one of those hamlets,” Councillor Ballinger said.
The four other locations, where saplings have been planted, are at the Veterans park, Township Office, Uxbridge Museum, and Quaker Church.
The trees are to honour the 100-year anniversary of Vimy Ridge and the 150th anniversary of Canada’s confederation.
A plaque will accompany each tree and will read, “Vimy Ridges Oak, planted August 2017. 100 years after the battle.”
Councillor Ballinger told the Standard, these trees will hopefully become a landmark where people can go and remember the great sacrifice Canadians made at Vimy Ridge.
“It’s a tribute to our people that left our community and went over there to do what they could do,” he said.
Councillor Ballinger is thankful for the support of council and the people of Uxbridge for being so willing to have these trees planted. He hopes to see them grow into big beautiful oaks over the next few decades.