A Toronto community is heartbroken after noting in late September that an iconic tree was felled without explanation.
The Don Valley Tree, nicknamed “Cricket” and “The Tree,” was located in ET Seton Park, at the bottom of the park’s driveway off Thorncliffe Park Drive.
According to a petition created to have it replanted, the tree was not just a tree for the residents.
“In addition to providing beautiful sight and shade on hot days, it formed a special meeting place for many communities, including mountain bikers, trailers, hikers, dog walkers and families,” the petition wrote.
“This is where people from all directions (literally and figuratively) came together to connect, share stories, laugh, rest and breathe before continuing our way into the valley.”
A spokesman for the City of Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation (PFR) told Global News that it is embarking on a “construction project to improve and enhance the driveway to Thorncliffe Park Boulevard and the path through ET Seton Park.”
They went on to say that the team found safety issues at the fork at the bottom of the driveway and began discussing various options for improving them, which included the potential need to cut down more trees.
However, while seeking to hire a private arborist to “look at the vegetation management,” the city said the contractor, who was already working on the project, went ahead and felled two trees on Sept. 29.
“No permits were issued by Urban Forestry for the removal, and PFR staff did not expect these trees to be removed at this time in the project timelines.”
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An investigation is underway into removing the trees, and Urban Forestry’s Compliance and Enforcement Unit will investigate possible tree replacement to “compensate for the loss of the trees.”
On Thursday morning, there were over 593 signatures on the petition. Several comments were left and expressed grief and concern.
One commenter called the trees “symbolic” and said he was “deeply saddened.”
While another wrote: “In the short time I have been on a mountain bike, this tree brought me many memories. I even climbed this tree and now it’s gone. ”
“I am sorry that the cricket tree was removed for no reason,” wrote another. “For over twenty years, when I was cycling in Don, I have said to my friends, ‘See you at the cricket tree.’ Now the landscape is empty and ugly, and for what reason?
“Cricket wood also provided shelter for many animals and insects over the years, and at one point a beehive had hung. Why was this done? Why did you take our tree away? ”
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