New Trees at Tollgate Take on Symbolic Legacy

A group of students and staff stands in front of a newly planted tree

Caption: Tollgate teachers, students, Tree Canada, Grand Erie and City of Brantford representatives were on hand at dedication

Tollgate Technological Skills Centre held a tree dedication ceremony as part of the school’s partnership with Tree Canada on November 23rd. The planting of a sugar maple and an eastern white pine will form the foundation of a Library Commons Garden initiative, which is the passion project of Tollgate teacher-librarian Jennifer Hines.

The goal of the multi-year project is to create a natural and inviting space for students to read, relax, and learn. The sugar maple was chosen to commemorate Canada’s 150th birthday, as it is both the provincial tree of Ontario and an integral part of Canada’s identity. The eastern white pine was chosen for its cultural significance to First Nations communities, especially local Six Nations communities, for which the white pine plays a key role in achieving and promoting peace between nations.

The project was initiated by Hines, but truly reflects a group effort; the trees and plaque were donated by CN Rail in conjunction with Canada 150 and Tree Canada. Tollgate’s Eco-Team prepared the site and planted the trees, the horticultural program mulched the trees, while the masonry class created and installed the base for the dedication plaque to sit beneath the eastern white pine tree.

The event was hosted by Tollgate teacher Shane Downey, and speakers included Celia Johnstone from Tree Canada, Brantford City Councillor John Sless, Brantford City Councillor Richard Carpenter, and Tollgate teacher-librarian Heather Vogt. The school also welcomed special guest speaker Allan St. Pierre, student and proud member of the First Nations community.

“The speakers really emphasized the importance of working together to maintain Canada’s green legacy,” said Shane Downey. “Our hope through this dedication ceremony is to ensure that our valuable green spaces are not taken for granted.”

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