A Work in Progress … Opening 24 September 2017
Fifty years ago, on the centenary of the formal establishment of Canada, a collection of birch trees sourced from all the Canadian provinces and territories was planted at the Morgan Arboretum in the field below Chalet Pruche. Speeches were made by important chaps in suits and then the trees were left to get on with it by themselves and their raison d’être was largely forgotten. Some of the trees thrived, some struggled, a couple succumbed to overcrowding, old age and the Montreal climate … but most are still with us (albeit some, only just). Almost everyone forgot what the trees were there for.
Half a century has passed, it’s 2017 and the volunteer Friends of the Morgan Arboretum are spending the spring and summer in renovating the original birch collection and laying the foundations for a new walking trail amongst them – the Canada 150 Trail.
The trail will be 0.75 km in length and meander along the birch rows, making its way northwards to the (no longer accurately named) Bobolink Field before returning by a parallel forest glade a bit to the west. As well as providing a pleasant stroll for visitors that takes them through some interestingly varied habitat, the trail will also provide opportunities for educational projects and act as as an introduction for members and visitors to many of the varied offerings of the arboretum.
Alongside the trail and near the sugar shack, the Friends are planting a Garden in the Forest (also known as The Copse) with a collection of ten species of native, berry-bearing shrubs and trees which, as they mature and grow in the years to come, will fill out to provide a needed resource of nourishment for the forest birds, insects and other wildlife … the plants have been chosen to give a continuous supply of fruits from early summer right through to the winter months.
And all the branches and tree trimmings resulting from this renovation – what happens to them? They are being transported to the field just north of the trail where they will be piled into a “Branchery” designed to provide essential shelter for small animals and the best singing posts for birds on the West Island.
The Trail will be formally opened on Sunday 24 September