Monthly Archives: September 2016

The Ashbridge’s baby willow lives on – photos of the giant willow that went down September 29, 2016

If you go by the Ashbridge Estate on Queen Street East, and you see a large willow tree, you might wonder: didn’t I hear that the big willow tree fell down? Yes it did, on September 29, 2016 in high winds. For years, its trunk was showing signs of severe rot, so its fall was a matter of time.

It lived for 97 years, about 20 more than the average lifespan for a weeping willow. At least that’s what a forester friend told me.

What about the tree you see now, in the photo below? It’s the baby of the old tree, but the baby is more like a teenager now, already taking its place on the estate, growing in the moist earth above the Ashbridge’s Creek, now buried under its roots.

Scroll down to see a couple of photos of the old tree, taken today September 30, 2016.
Also see the article in the Toronto Star by Evelyn Kwong, who I enjoyed speaking with last night:
Beloved 97-year-old weeping willow crashes on Ashbridge’s Estate

And a photo of the old tree about a year ago, by our local ace photographer Diane Walton:
The Great Toronto Tree Hunt – vote for your favourite tree, such as the willow on the Ashbridge Estate

And:
The Ashbridge Estate’s giant willow has gone down – September 29, 2016

Ashbridge willow down - photo September 30, 2016 by Robert Miller

Ashbridge willow down – photo September 30, 2016 by Robert Miller

"Baby" willow, now a teenager, growing strong in front of the empty space left behind by its now-deceased parent.

“Baby” willow, now a teenager, growing strong in front of the empty space left behind by its now-deceased parent.

Ashbridge Estate willow, planted 1919, down September 2016.

Ashbridge Estate willow, planted 1919, down September 2016.

In March 2016 the giant willow was showing deterioration in its trunk. Looking north to Duke of Connaught School from the back yard of the Ashbridge Estate.

In March 2016 the giant willow, right, was showing deterioration in its trunk. Looking north to Duke of Connaught School from the back yard of the Ashbridge Estate.

Advertisements

The Ashbridge Estate’s giant willow has gone down – September 29, 2016

Photos by Elayne Crilly-Gauthier

2016-09-29-ashbridge-estate-willow-tree-down1

The mighty willow has gone down.

The majestic willow on the Ashbridge Estate - sadly today is on the ground, barely missed Duke of Connaught School on the left.  Photo taken looking east from the front of S.H. Armstrong.

The majestic willow on the Ashbridge Estate – sadly today is on the ground, barely missed Duke of Connaught School on the left. Photo taken looking east from the front of S.H. Armstrong.

Farewell to the gracious giant willow on the Ashbridge Estate.
See more on the Ashbridge’s Neighbourhood Facebook page.

Here is an appreciation of the tree written in 2015, when this blog entered the willow in a “favourite Toronto tree” contest:

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.

Learn about archaeology of the Ashbridge Estate – September 27, 2016 at St. Matthew’s Clubhouse, 550 Broadview Avenue

IMG_6670
Riverdale Historical Society presents
Marti Latta
Professor Emeritus, University of Toronto

Archaeology of Ashbridge’s Estate

Professor Marti Latta will discuss discoveries from her archaeological dig in Ashbridge’s Bay seeking information about some of Toronto’s first settlers, the Ashbridges, who arrived in 1793 from Pennsylvania. The family’s last heritage home still stands prominently on Queen St. East.

Dr. Latta will describe her search for the foundations of the Ashbridge’s earliest log home and artifacts from their daily life in Upper Canada.

Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2016
6:30 pm
Admission $5, FREE for members of Riverdale Historical Society
St. Matthews Clubhouse, Riverdale Park East
550 Broadview Avenue, Toronto

See event details on the Riverdale Historical Society website.