Unknown Victoria

Victoria: The Unknown City is a guidebook to an eccentric town on the southern tip of Vancouver Island. This is the author's blog. Look here for Victoria lore, updates and additions to the book, and hate mail.

Friday, March 10, 2006

ID That Boulevard Tree

To Victorians, March is a month of gloating. While other Canadians wrestle with shovels and snowblowers, we bask in relative warmth, and count our blossoms. Last week Victorians counted 5,358,902,569 flowers here, re-confirming our rep as “the Garden City” – and proving that residents enjoy an abundance of free time.

The most photogenic foliage at this time of year belongs to the 3,000 flowering trees lining many of Victoria's streets. A few weeks ago the Times Colonist misidentified a row on Richmond Avenue as “cherry trees,” but a knowitall reader later wrote in to state they were actually flowering plums, which bloom slightly earlier. How can you know which are which? One handy bit of paper I picked up while researching the book is a list of all the city’s boulevard trees. Click on the image at right and you'll get a full-size version to print, identifying exactly which species appear on which streets. Thanks to Valerie Murray, Lynne Milnes, and The Land Conservancy for letting me republish it.

As I mention in the Sports and Outdoors chapter, over 1,000 of these trees were donated by the city's Japanese community, using prize money it won for its float in the 1937 Victoria Day Parade. But the city did not return the favour. I recently came across this plaque in Centennial Square mentioning that 273 of those Japanese residents were shipped off to internment camps in 1942, and never returned to Victoria. Something to consider while you're enjoying all those pretty pink flowers.


At 8:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Circa 1998, I found in Victoria Public Library Reference Section, a crudely bound, or was it loose leaf, typed list of the City trees, street by street, block by block. Notes from that and a botanical street walk might be edifying.

At 7:22 PM, Blogger ross said...

Dear Anonymous,

I have heard about such a book. Thank you for reminding me of it. I will look for it in the library -- although the TLC list may be easier to carry around.

At 12:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A hole punched letter sized paper version exists and can be had by asking City Parks staff. There is also an electronic version, created as part of the Urban Forest Matter Plan. A recent head of RRU published a paper on the threats of climate change to City blvd trees ...


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