Maples of the Veterans’ Memorial Walkway

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Neil Carleton 2

by Neil Carleton

The Veterans’ Memorial Walkway in Almonte, between Bridge and Perth Streets, was officially dedicated on September 23, 2006, in honour of the Year of the Veterans 2005. Special events were held across the country in 2005 and later to remember and honour the contributions and sacrifices of Canadian veterans.

poppy and leaf
poppy and leaf

The image of a poppy overlapping a gold maple leaf was the Year of the Veteran symbol used on posters, pamphlets, bookmarks, and documents.

Coin
Coin

The Royal Canadian Mint issued the Year of the Veteran 25 cent coin as a tribute to Canadian veterans. The design depicts the profiles of veterans from different generations.

The Veterans’ Memorial Walkway is a popular route for dog walkers, strollers, and joggers. Teachers and their classes from nearby Naismith Memorial Public School take the Walkway to and from the Almonte Community Centre during skating season.
The Veterans’ Memorial Walkway is a popular route for dog walkers, strollers, and joggers. Teachers and their classes from nearby Naismith Memorial Public School take the Walkway to and from the Almonte Community Centre during skating season.
The flower bed at the flag pole along the Walkway is maintained by the Almonte and District Horticultural Society. Society volunteers plants tulip bulbs in the fall and annual for the summer.
The flower bed at the flag pole along the Walkway is maintained by the Almonte and District Horticultural Society. Society volunteers plants tulip bulbs in the fall and annual for the summer.
Growing on the grounds of this living memorial are 105 maples, each with a ground mounted plaque recognizing a veteran from our community. Although the Walkway trees are referred to at times as red maples, red maple is not red-leafed. The red maple has reddish buds and flowers, and may have red leaf stems and red fall colour, but the summer leaf is green.
Growing on the grounds of this living memorial are 105 maples, each with a ground mounted plaque recognizing a veteran from our community. Although the Walkway trees are referred to at times as red maples, red maple is not red-leafed. The red maple has reddish buds and flowers, and may have red leaf stems and red fall colour, but the summer leaf is green.
The location of each tree and corresponding veteran’s name is identified on signage opposite the flag pole.
The location of each tree and corresponding veteran’s name is identified on signage opposite the flag pole.
The well spaced trees of the Veterans’ Memorial Walkway have plenty of room to grow.
The well spaced trees of the Veterans’ Memorial Walkway have plenty of room to grow.
Maple trees with mature red leaves are alien species, including the Norway variety known as ‘Crimson King’ with leaves that are burgundy or almost black. They’re known for the intensity of their leaf colour, fast growth, and dense shade.
Maple trees with mature red leaves are alien species, including the Norway variety known as ‘Crimson King’ with leaves that are burgundy or almost black. They’re known for the intensity of their leaf colour, fast growth, and dense shade.

 

By the base of each of the 105 maple trees on the grounds of the Veterans’ Memorial Walkway is a plaque in honour of a veteran from our community.
By the base of each of the 105 maple trees on the grounds of the Veterans’ Memorial Walkway is a plaque in honour of a veteran from our community.

By the base of each of the 105 maple trees on the grounds of the Veterans’ Memorial Walkway is a plaque in honour of a veteran from our community.

The next time you’re out for a walk, the Veterans’ Memorial Walkway could be on your route. Step up for a closer look at one of the Norway maples. Bring along a hand lens to study a leaf. If you find any insects on the leaves, stems, or branches, what do they look like? Gently hold up a leaf to the sun on a bright day and compare the colour of the light that’s transmitted through the complex layered structure of plant cells. When the leaves are off, stop again to see the distinctive pattern of leaf scars on the twigs. Come back regularly in the spring to examine the delicate flowers, and see the stages of new leaves emerging. Are the trees of the Walkway old enough yet to produce seeds?

Any season is a good season for a close look at a tree, and a great guide is available. For a steady stream of reading discoveries and phenomenal photos, I recommend Seeing Trees: Discover the Extraordinary Secrets of Everyday Trees, by Nancy Ross Hugo, photographs by Robert Llewellyn. This 8 ½“ x 10” / 21.6 cm x 25.4 cm hardcover book, which focuses on 10 common trees of North America, was published in 2011 by Timber Press. Inc. ISBN 978-1-60469-219-8, 242 pages. I have a good field guide or two on trees that I can carry in my knapsack, but this is the book I keep handy at home for inspiration. You’ll never see a tree in the same way again. Mary and Terry Lumsden at Mill Street Books in Almonte will be happy to get a copy for you.

Do you have a notable or favourite tree? Readers are invited to submit their nominations for an honor roll of trees in our area that could be featured in future articles. You can contact me at 613-256-2018, <ve3nce@gmail.ca>, or Neil Carleton, 3 Argyle Street, P.O. Box 1644, Almonte, Ontario, K0A 1A0. I look forward to hearing from you.

My volunteer columns started in March 2010, as print features, to support the tree planting and tree awareness initiatives of the Mississippi Mills Beautification Committee.

The contact for the Tree Committee is Ron Ayling, 613-804-4617. In Carleton Place, the contact for the Urban Forest / River Corridor Advisory Committee is Jim McCready, 613-257-5853.

Until the next column, you’ll find me looking for and hanging out with shady characters.