The history and future of Boulevard trees

Posted by Amanda Gomm/ May 09, 2012 at

Street trees
Last fall I had the pleasure of seeing Peter Simon speak about boulevard trees at the annual OUFC (Ontario Urban Forestry Council) Conference. He grabbed my attention right away with a historic introduction to how and where street trees first came to be and then moved to our very own city, back when horse and buggy were still the main source of wheeled-transportation. I fell in love with the topic.
Boulevard trees have always held a special place in my heart. I’m not exactly sure why but I think it’s because I’m a renter… I have no property of my own so the trees on my street are always what greet me in the morning and welcome me home at night. In fact, I live on Roncesvalles where a lot of work has been done for the trees on our street.

As much as these trees are my personal homing beacons, Peter pointed out many of the ways street trees can be some of the most stressed trees in our city. They are vulnerable to vandalism, housed in arteries paved in cement or boxes that encourage girdling roots. But what I loved the most about this talk was Peter’s passion for the topic and his enthusiasm for new possibilities in street design and creative infrastructure. I walked away with a greater sense of the potential to turn our streets into a space where both humans and trees can live in harmony.

Following his talk, it was not long before I tracked him down and exclaimed he simply must present this talk to our LEAF community!!!! After very little arm twisting, Peter was ecstatic about sharing this information with all of you — AND we even decided to increase the history component (my favorite part).


I encourage everyone to come out next Thursday to the North York Civic Centre. It really helped change the way I view my street tree friends. You don’t want to miss the History and Future of Boulevard Trees and a chance to bring some of these ideas to your neighbourhood. And for you arborists we have an added treat – you can now get ISA CEUs from this talk and many others with LEAF this year so keep your eyes peeled!


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