The city’s historic Mayday tree will come down when the new city hall construction begins.
The tree, planted next to city hall on Steele Street, was in memory of Martha Black, the territory’s first member of parliament – and the second female in Canada to serve as an MP.
The tree, said city parks staff, is at the end of its life, but that doesn’t mean its genetic lineage won’t be passed on.
On Aug. 26, the city gave away seedlings to the public so they could grow their own Mayday tree, furthering the memory of Martha Black.
The seedlings were to be handed out between 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. Hundreds of people lined Steele Street, rounding the corner past MacBride Museum to get a piece of the tree.
Landon Kulych, manager of parks, said the city harvested 300 seedlings to be given out. They went quickly.
“We ran out of seedlings in the first 20-25 minutes,” said Kulych. “We knew there was a ton of community interest. We thought 300 was a pretty safe number. We were able to meet the demand of everybody that was in line.”
Those who trickled in after the initial rush were not able to get a seedling, but they will have another opportunity.
“We are going to harvest more and release some details as soon as we can put something together as to what we can do to put a second offering out there for the people in the community who maybe missed out on the first opportunity,” said Kulych.
Kulych said he’s excited to see all the potential Mayday trees around the city. Those who got a seedling were also given a care pamphlet so Kulych said people should be successful growing their tree.
“It’s things like allowing space for roots and branches to grow,” said Kulych. “There’s also things like how to prepare the soil by using compost and manure and mixing with organic material.”
The pamphlet also covered what conditions the tree will have the most success in, how to appropriately water it, and the proper depth to plant the seedling.
“Regular watering is critical for the survival rate and roots establishing in the first year,” said Kulych.
The city has also kept seedlings to grow a Mayday tree on the grounds of the new city building.
“We plan on continuing the Martha Black story and lineage of that Martha Black tree in the new services building,” said Kulych. “Once it’s created, it’s been incorporated into the landscaping plan. We have every intention of continuing that.”
The plans for the new services building downtown would see the older section of city hall and the fire hall at the Second and Steele site demolished with the new building, and transit hub, being built by 2023-2024.
It was not clear when the Mayday tree was planted at city hall. The typical lifespan for such trees is between 60 and 80 years old.
Contact John Tonin at email@example.com