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'Oasis within the middle of the city': Wascana Park officials celebrate Arbour Day

Arbour Day, which is traditionally celebrated by the planting of trees, is of particular significance in Regina, which is home to an urban forest created on bald prairie.

Wascana Park officials marked the occasion on Friday by telling the story of some of its oldest trees.

“So many beautiful and amazing trees here in Wascana Centre. We’ve got such an oasis within the middle of the city,” said Jenna Schroeder, executive director of the Provincial Capital Commission.

The tree in front of the legislative building was planted in the spring of 1913, the year after the building was completed.

“So that’s 110 years it’s been on this site and before that, it was transplanted from Government House so we’re not quite sure how old it was when it was planted at Government House but we can assume this is about a 120 year old tree,” said Derek Barr, director of forestry for the Wascana Centre.

The elm was planted by George Watt, a Scottish botanist who introduced trees to Regina’s bald prairie landscape. In all, he‘s responsible for the planting of 6,000 trees in Wascana Park.

“He does reference bringing in spruce trees from the Banff area in 1912,” Barr said.

Regina’s oldest public tree is another American elm planted in Victoria Park in 1900.

“In most of the world with American elms, they grow all over the northern hemisphere, they can live up to 300 plus years. Here in Regina, we don’t know how long they are going to live yet,” Barr said.

Watt’s contribution to Regina’s urban landscape was appropriately recognized in 1967 by the planting of the elm tree near Willow Island, adding to the 50,000 trees and counting in Wascana Park. Top Stories

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