London, Ontario hails itself as the Forest City. There are over 123,000 street trees on city owned property and over 32,000 more trees in managed park areas (not including unmanaged natural areas). Over the next three years, the Million Tree Challenge aims to plant a tree for every Londoner within its bounds. If successful, the effect of this challenge will be to improve air and water quality, create energy savings, as well as decrease the amount of carbon dioxide within our environment. All fabulous reasons to get out and plant a tree today.
London’s Metal Trees
There are a few more trees in London that are of a different ilk though. If you have ever wandered around downtown, I’m sure that you have spied one or two of the trees that I am talking about. They are the metal trees created by Bill Hodgson, a local metal artist.
Whether you like them or not, London’s brightly painted Carolinian Forest has attracted a lot of attention over the years. In hues of yellow, red, orange, blue, green and purple, the metal trees are scattered throughout the downtown core, centering around Dundas, King, Talbot and Wellington St. And while the main complaint that people have is that they would rather have real trees planted, versus these metallic cousins, they certainly make a statement. That statement is Art.
Now I may not be a master artist, but I have to say that I don’t mind London’s metal trees. The fact that they pay homage to our namesake of the “Forest City” gives them points in my book. Plus, the trees are varied in their genre. There are black and white oak, sassafras, trembling aspen, hawthorn, slippery elm, white pine, silver maple, black cherry, and none of them have a colour to match their names. Their leaves are enlarged to highlight the beauty of them, despite being sparse in number. Doesn’t that force the admirer to look a little deeper into what the artist is trying to say?
What do you think of London’s metal forest? Ugly or unique? At about $6000 a tree, was it worth the price to add a little colour to the downtown core? What are your thoughts London?