Ontario initiative commemorates soldiers by creating green space

Body of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo is transported in a hearse from Ottawa to Hamilton
Photo by Nathan Denette/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Ontario’s Highway of Heroes will soon be lined with trees—one for every Canadian soldier who has given their life in service since Confederation.

The project is a collaboration between Forest Ontario and The Highway of Heroes Tribute. 117,000 trees will be planted over the course of five years, creating a canopy over this important stretch of the 401.

The highway between Canadian Forces Base Trenton and Toronto was officially designated the “Highway of Heroes” in 2007. It’s the route taken by funeral convoys delivering fallen Canadian Forces personnel from CFB Trenton to Toronto.

Highway of heroes

Image courtesy of Kawartha Now

Ceremonial trees were planted where the highway begins, at CFB Trenton, and where it ends, at the Coroner’s Office on Keele Street in Toronto. Planting along the rest of the road is expected to start in spring 2016. Native species being planted will include sugar maple, beech, white pine, white cedar, and white spruce.

Beyond being a beautiful memorial to the nation’s fallen soldiers, the trees will also benefit the environment around the highway. They will add shade, provide erosion control and wind breaks, increase pollinator species, and generally make the area more visually appealing.

You can donate to the campaign at www.hohtribute.ca.