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Arbor Day Connects the Past and Future by Transforming Urban Space


May 25, 2013 – Arbor Day 2013: Transforming Spaces was the first event of its kind hosted by the City’s Parks Division to focus on urban renewal. The event served as an opportunity to increase the profile and importance of green infrastructure, in transforming underused, vacant urban areas into meaningful, vibrant space that produce benefits to the community. 12 large caliper trees including American Basswood, Red Maple, White Oak, Bay Willow, White Spruce, Blue Spruce and a variety of perennial shrubs were planted at the vacant section of land along the Memorial Avenue Image Route (Beverly Street & Memorial Street intersection). 

“Truly sustainable communities need healthy urban forests that help purify air, help manage storm water, provide shade and lower stress indicators,” said Mayor Hobbs during the annual Arbor Day tree planting event in Thunder Bay. “The trees that were planted here today, in addition to Thunder Bay’s existing green infrastructure, directly contribute to the health of our community. I am proud of the work that has been done in recent years to advance Thunder Bay as a clean, green and beautiful city. I am also thrilled to see trees returning to this portion of Memorial Avenue to help restore the legacy of our veterans and honour their sacrifices by investing in the community they called home.”

Among the many benefits of re-greening this site, it helped raise awareness of Thunder Bay’s history and the legacy to the war Veterans that originated in 1926 in the planting of laurel leaf willow trees along Memorial Avenue – helping coin the street’s name. The re-greening also provides a platform to promote the City’s new Urban Design Guidelines for the Images Routes and brings the Guidelines to life through these trees.

“This is an important and valuable greening event for our community,” said Brad Doff, Urban Forestry Program Specialist – Parks Division. “It connects us to the past, helping us appreciate the historical importance of Memorial Avenue and demonstrates a future hope and a glimpse of the beauty that will come through the hard work of applying the City’s new Urban Design Guidelines for the Image Routes”.

 The event was free of charge and offered a variety of demonstrations and activities for the entire family. About 100 people came out to plant trees and ask questions at the “Ask the Tree Expert” station – getting answers to a host of tree-related issues including planting and maintaining fruit trees in the North, tree pruning and soil essentials.

Thunder Bay Museum, PA Rotary, Thunder Bay Planning Division, Big Boreal Adventure, among many other groups and organizations, participated in the event.

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Contact: Brad Doff, Urban Forestry Program Specialist, 625.2956, bdoff@thunderbay.ca