Par­ents lift ba­bies to touch leaves of weep­ing beech tree

Toronto Star - - GREATER TORONTO -

Tree of the Week is a new weekly fea­ture that will show­case some of the big­gest and most beau­ti­ful trees in the GTA, com­piled by Me­gan Ogilvie. Here, Martha Par­rott tells us about the glo­ri­ous Euro­pean weep­ing beech tree that dom­i­nates her front yard.

This tree isn’t ours; it be­longs to the city, but we love it as our own.

So do the peo­ple on our street, Brae­more Gar­dens, which is just west of Wy­ch­wood Park in Toronto.

Its trunk is 218 cm in cir­cum­fer­ence and, at its widest span, its canopy is close to 15 me­tres.

We be­lieve the tree has been here for at least as long as the house, which was built in 1922, but prob­a­bly longer.

The trunk is typ­i­cal of beech trees: smooth, grey bark and a lit­tle bit of a spread at the very bot­tom, like an ele­phant’s leg and foot; ours even has a “knee.”

Our tree serves as an um­brella in in­clement weather and an air con­di­tioner in sum­mer; it en­velops the front of the house and makes the front bed­rooms seem like rooms in a tree house.

It usu­ally houses a min­i­mum of five squir­rels’ nests at a time.

The large sup­port­ing branches are mag­i­cal when cov­ered in snow and the weep­ing ten­drils, of­ten sev­eral me­tres long, ca­ress the air and some­times tall passersby. We have seen par­ents lift their ba­bies up into the leaves.

It can be hazardous to strangers, but only be­cause they are look­ing up as they pass un­der rather than watch­ing where they are go­ing.

I started by say­ing that this is a city tree. In re­al­ity, no one owns a tree like this; we are just hon­oured to share its space for a lit­tle while.

MARTHA PAR­ROTT

This Euro­pean weep­ing beech tree can be hazardous, since peo­ple look up as they pass un­der it, writes Martha Par­rott.

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