In honour of Remembrance Day, 117,000 trees will be planted along the Highway of Heroes in Ontario—a tree for every soldier that has died serving Canada since Confederation.
The campaign is a partnership between Forests Ontario and the Highway of Heroes Tribute, the organization behind the 170-kilometre stretch of Highway 401 that connects CFB Trenton to Keele Street in Toronto.
The first trees were planted last Friday, November 6 in Trenton and Toronto, marking each end of the highway. The campaign will re-launch again next spring, with Forests Ontario responsible for planting the remaining trees and maintaining the site. In all, it will take approximately five years to plant the 117,000 trees.
Forests Ontario will plant a variety of native tree species, including sugar maple, white pine, white cedar, white spruce, and beech.
In addition to honouring Canada’s soldiers, the new trees will increase canopy cover, erosion control, and pollinator species.
“The benefits of this partnership are two-fold,” said Steven Del Duca, Ontario’s Minister of Transportation, in a statement. “It allows us to honour the men and women who have given their lives in service of our country. At the same time, it allows us to continue the greening of our highways for healthier communities and a lasting legacy for future generations.”
First designated in 2007, the Highway of Heroes is the route for funeral convoys carrying fallen Canadian Forces service men and women from the CFB Trenton to the coroner’s office in Toronto.
“Trenton represents the starting point of the final journey of a fallen solider,” Lou Rinaldi, the MPP of Northumberland-Quinte West, said in the statement. “The Highway of Heroes grew out of the local spontaneous tributes and signs of respect shown by local residents, and people all along the highway. The tree planting partnership is another excellent honour that we can bestow upon the fallen.”
If you would like to help in the effort, visit hohtribute.ca.