June 13 update – 260 votes for this tree.
The Great Toronto Tree Hunt is on! Until June 15, 2015 view nominations of trees found all around Toronto, then vote for your favourite tree. Here is our entry for The Great Ashbridge Estate Willow (Diane Walton photo, Robert Miller words). Feel free to vote for this one. 🙂
On the The Great Toronto Tree Hunt site,
Click on “vote” to see all the trees.
Our entry is copied here:
The Great Ashbridge Estate Willow
NOMINATOR: Diane Walton & Robert Miller
NEAREST MAJOR INTERSECTION TO THE TREE OR NAME OF PARK: Queen/Greenwood Aves.
NOMINATION CATEGORY: Heritage Potential
BRIEF STORY: This amazing willow tree, almost 100 years old, is a striking feature of the Ashbridge Estate, a green oasis on Queen Street East. The tree is one of many gorgeous specimens on the Ashbridge Estate, which is a green remnant of the much larger Ashbridge Estate (farm) which extended from Ashbridge’s Bay to Danforth Avenue, between Greenwood and Coxwell Avenues.
A September 2014 tree tour of the Ashbridge Estate was led by Philip van Wassenaer of Urban Forest Innovations, an arborist who has worked to preserve the trees on the property over the years:
“A central stop on the tour was this amazing willow tree. We know from diary entries that it was planted by Emma Rooney (married to Jesse Ashbridge) way back in 1919. Willows are water-loving trees, and back then, a stream ran through the area to nearby Lake Ontario. This tree has been slated for removal several times, but Philip has fought to keep this striking specimen alive. To ensure it does not pose a hazard, he has removed some of the larger branches and put a fence around its base to keep people away from where branches might fall.”
(excerpted from this article about the tree tour.)
The stream where the willow stands is the Ashbridge’s Creek, now buried below ground, but its “valley” is still visible. Damp areas are of course a favourite of willows.