The heritage maple that once towered over Glover Road and 96 Avenue will soon be replaced by a smaller, mightier tree.
On April 23, in conjunction with Arbour Day celebrations, the Township will plant three new maples to replace the big leaf maple memorial tree stumps that remain at 96 Avenue and Glover Road, 96 Avenue and Trattle Street and 96 Avenue and Wright Street.
The three trees were originally planted in the 1920s as part of a program to commemorate Langley’s fallen soldiers from the First World War. They have all since been cut down due to disease.
There is just one tree from this project remaining — the Johnston Commemorative Maple — which is still standing in Milner.
Dozens of other trees that were planted at intersections in honour of Langley’s fallen have disappeared, although the roads named for these soldiers still remain.
The maple leaf had significance for the Canadian Expeditionary Force, in which many Langley soldiers served. It was worn as a symbol on their uniform lapels, with their badges closely resembling that of a big leaf maple.
The new trees, which will be planted in the same location as their predecessors, will be a slightly different — more resilient — species of maple that is not as susceptible to disease.
The Apollo sugar maple is drought resistant, has vibrant colour, a long, clear stem and more upright branching to help with traffic visibility.
Following the commemorative ceremony for their planting, Arbour Day festivities will continue at Hudson Bay Park.
There, saplings cultured from the seeds of the original big leaf maples will be planted in a grove in an area that will eventually be visible from Glover Road.
Township staff have already planted a few saplings as experiments to see if they will grow. While the test worked, the big leafs are not trained as street trees and therefore will be planted as park trees instead.
Additionally, three salvaged branches from the A.W. Wilson Memorial Maple Tree, which was recently stumped at 96 Avenue and Glover Road, will be given to Heritage Manor to build a commemorative bench for public use in Wilson’s name.