The truth about the West End’s tree­topped Eu­ge­nia Place.

Vancouver Magazine - - News - Stacey McLach­lan by By­ron Eggen­schwiler il­lus­tra­tion by Got aque­s­tion for City In­former? stacey.mclach­lan@vanmag.com

It’s un­clear how the per­va­sive ru­mour about the ac­tor got started.

If you’ve been to English Bay, you’ve prob­a­bly no­ticed the tower to the west that has a tree grow­ing on top of it. Per­haps you have won­dered, like thou­sands of other Van­cou­verites who for­got to bring a book to the beach, if Spock lived there. It’s only nat­u­ral to be cu­ri­ous!

It’s un­clear how the per­va­sive ru­mour that triple-threat ac­tor, au­thor and singer Leonard Ni­moy lived at Eu­ge­nia Place (1919 Beach Av­enue if we’re go­ing to be for­mal about it) got started, but when you build a tower and plant an 11-me­ter pin oak on top of it, you’re go­ing to at­tract some at­ten­tion—like when you wear as­tate­ment hat on the bus. Ni­moy passed away in 2015, so he ob­vi­ously could not be reached for com­ment. His son, Adam, how­ever, told me that to his knowl­edge his fa­ther never owned or lived in an apart­ment in the iconic tower.

Hen­riquez and Part­ners won a Gover­nor Gen­eral’s Award for Ar­chi­tec­ture for Eu­ge­nia, which was com­pleted in 1987, but be­yond gen­er­at­ing celebrity scut­tle­butt, it’s most no­table for spark­ing in­tense dis­cus­sions about tree main­te­nance. The gi­ant oak was first plopped (that’s the tech­ni­cal ar­chi­tec­ture term) on top of the tower to rep­re­sent the height of the cedars and firs that once stood on the site. Though this va­ri­ety of oak can grow up to 30 me­ters, the size of the pot of soil (a measly 45,360 kilo­grams) keeps this par­tic­u­lar plant stunted.

In the process of in­stalling a tree in the sky, though, they re­ally cursed the owner of the suite be­low it (who, just to be clear, is not the late, great Leonard Ni­moy) for­ever. The only way to ac­cess the plant is via the pent­house, so ar­borists must pass through this pre­sum­ably pricey suite each time they’re tend­ing to cater­pil­lar in­fes­ta­tions or what­ever oak trees are into these days. But when it came time to re­move the tree ear­lier this year af­ter it was weak­ened by drought in 2015 (the same year Ni­moy passed away . . . co­in­ci­dence?!), they used a crane in­stead; the bill came to over $500,000 for the labour and ma­te­ri­als alone. Looks like money trees do ex­ist af­ter all.

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