Driving along Highway 1 is a little different now-a-days. The little bend in the road between 176th Street and 200th is no longer marked by a once magnificent Douglas Fir, christened Charlie’s Tree.
The memorial was created by Charlie Perkins. As a World War I veteran flight instructor, he was the only returnee of his friends from The Great War. He planted ivy at the tree in a grove where he and his friends would spend their days as youngsters. This was Charlie’s way of honouring them forever. When construction of Highway 1 in 1960 threatened to travel right in the path of his tree, Charlie stood his ground. The result was the curve in the highway that preserved the reminder of his beloved friends.
The tree took on an even greater significance, the story became legend as a reminder for those who fought for the freedoms that Canadians exercise each and every day. Over the years, Charlie’s Tree endured a lot. It was set ablaze and topped, but just like Charlie, the tree persevered. Visitors decorated it with flags and flowers.
In the summer of 2016 the stump that was left of Charlie’s Tree fell. But in the true spirit of Remembrance Day, the tree and the memorial will live on. A granite memorial has been erected and a young tree has been planted in Charlie’s Tree’s stump to commemorate both the lives of those who served Canadians, and to forever remember Charlie and his conviction to commemorate his friends.
Photo Credit: abvendramin