IN SEARCH OF THE ST CUTHBERTS TREE
We learned about this tree through the Forests Ontario heritage tree website. For once, the location was known and easy to find since there was, actually, a street address in Toronto. No hunting necessary!
The unknown factor was in regards to private property issues. Even though this seed collection had a meaningful purpose you still must regard a person’s, or church’s, right to not have people traipsing all over their lawns. We wanted to make contact with the church, where the tree was located, not just to get permission to harvest acorns on their property but to ascertain the human element, or connection, to this great white oak.
Our initial contact was with Reverend Ian who was very receptive to our idea. We were directed to the church gardening committee and property management office. In no time, we had set up a greet and meet. Driving down to the church for our meeting was easy. When we were close enough, you looked up to the horizon and the old tree led the way.
This tree surely has many champions. The gardening crew watches Ontario Hydro or the City of Toronto work crews when they decide to tree trim. Nobody messes with this tree with this group of dedicated volunteers watching over. Though it was not a year for the tree to produce acorns, we have periodic communications with the church about the well being of ‘their’ tree.
Here is the write up from Forests Ontario.
‘The Lea family, back in 1818, was one of the founding families for the Leaside area. By 1890, the Lea’s donated land for construction of a church. There was no steeple built. The white oak that was present during the construction acted as the focal point of the church. Today, to find the church just look to the sky and the white oak guides the way.’