A presentation today at City Council saw the unveiling of a new Council Chamber lectern and City Council gavel. Both were made of wood from the Maple Leaf Forever tree.
“The City of Toronto is deeply honoured to receive a new lectern and gavel made from the iconic Maple Leaf Forever tree,” said Mayor John Tory. “The preservation and celebration of these historical masterpieces is an enduring symbol of our patriotism.”
Today’s presentation was made on behalf of City Council by Councillors Paula Fletcher (Ward 30 Toronto-Danforth) and Mary-Margaret McMahon (Ward 32 Beaches-East York) to Speaker Frances Nunziata (Ward 11 York South-Weston).
The Council Chamber lectern was refurbished by Dixon Hall Neighbourhood Services, with the City of Toronto logo carved by the Ontario Wood Carvers Association. The City Council gavel was made by the Woodturners Guild of Ontario. Four additional gavels have been made for the City’s Community Councils and will be presented at an event in the City Hall rotunda on February 17.
“The City is proud to help preserve the legacy of this iconic tree through unique public items that utilize its wood,” said Councillor Michael Thompson (Ward 37 Scarborough Centre), Chair of the Economic Development Committee. “These items not only respect and celebrate the tree itself, they also draw attention to the craftsmanship of our local design and wood craft industries.”
From February 15 to 18, a selection of the 410 items produced from the tree will be on display in the City Hall Rotunda. The items include pieces commissioned by the Royal Ontario Museum, Ontario Heritage Trust and the Toronto Public Library.
The opening of the exhibition is timed to coincide with National Flag of Canada Day on February 15. This year is the 50th anniversary of the national flag being raised for the first time on Parliament Hill.
The tree is believed to have been the inspiration for Alexander Muir’s song, The Maple Leaf Forever. Since the tree fell during a summer storm in 2013, the City has engaged in activities with local designers and woodcrafts people to preserve the tree’s legacy. City staff were able to salvage 48 logs of various sizes from the tree. This resulted in approximately 3,175 kilograms (7,000 pounds) of green wood that could be utilized for current and future projects. Many of the items produced from the tree will be on display in museums and historical societies across Canada.
Additionally, one of the projects, led by Colin Cripps of Blue Rodeo, involves the crafting of an electric and an acoustic guitar for Toronto-based musicians. Details about this project will be available in the spring.
More information about the Maple Leaf Forever tree projects is available at http://www.yourleaf.org/maple-leaf-forever.