One day, colossal trees will grow again in downtown Vancouver....
by Toby Barazzuol on Friday Jul 25, 2014
Last week, we took a step in that direction as the Strathcona BIA launched the Urban Tree Nursery along Hastings Street. The project has faced a few challenges over the past couple of years although its goal has always been simple: to reintroduce trees and greenery into some of our most hardened urban areas. So to see 14 young trees and planters installed along one of the busiest streets in Vancouver was indeed rewarding.
The Urban Tree Nursery is the result of an ongoing collaboration with our community partners Hastings Crossing BIA, Tree Canada and Greenest City. Though this is a pared down version of our original vision to green the Hastings Corridor, working with our partners has been a rewarding experience and an important first step in rewilding Strathcona.
Now some of you may be asking why a business association, or an awards company for that matter, would support a program that adds trees to a neighbourhood. The reason is that "we believe that a healthy and engaged community is the foundation of a healthy and thriving local economy. Trees clean our air, cast shade, soften the concrete streetscape and are beautiful to admire - these qualities benefit all people. So by strengthening our community, we are also strengthening our economy." The health and wellbeing of both are closely connected.
In addition to having more trees in our community, we're also looking cultivating other important elements of this program. This is a tree nursery because it implies a sense of care, ownership and cultivation, which is what we want for the community of Strathcona. Local businesses and non-profits have been asked to care for these trees in the years ahead. Similarly, youth groups have been trained at Raycam Community Centre to support in helping the trees to grow stronger.
The Urban Tree Nursery has already created a tremendous opportunity to collaborate with community partners, engage them in different ways, and work towards a shared goal. People are connecting in new ways that will strengthen the social fabric of the DTES.
As each of the dignitaries spoke, and as we watched the Git Hayetsk Dancers and the Sawagi Taiko drum group bless the opening ceremony by paying tribute to our history and ancestors, I couldn’t help but think of the ripples that this project and the rewilding of Strathcona might have on our community, for years to come. It was indeed a celebration!
One day, giant trees will grow again in downtown Vancouver... The Urban Tree Nursery takes steps in that direction.
Thanks again to our staff, partners and funders who have worked to make this possible! Stay tuned in the years ahead as this program grows, matures and inspires.
It took a great team to pull this together!
The Git Hayetsk Dancers blessed the launching of the tree nursery and provided historical and traditional perspective on the importance of trees to all people and cultures.
Sawagi Taiko, Canada’s first all-female Taiko drumming group, performed at the ceremony, paying tribute to the deep roots of the Japanese community in Strathcona.
The Git Hayetsk dancers
Big thanks to all the volunteers who helped make this street party possible!
Talking about community with Heather O’Hara from HXBIA and a local resident
Git Hayetsk dancer at opening ceremony
Git Hayetsk dancers scattering eagles’ down to symbolize treading lightly upon our land