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, a World War I veteran flight instructor who 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, as a way to honour them forever. When construction of Highway 1 in 1960 threatened to travel right in the path of his tree, Charlie stood his ground, resulting in that curve in the highway to preserve the reminder of his beloved friends.
The tree took on an even greater significance, 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 a blaze and topped, but the memorial lived on and visitors decorated it with flags and flowers.
This past summer the stump that was left of Charlie’s Tree fell. But just like the memory of Charlie’s friends, the tree and the memorial will live on. Plans are underway to erect a permanent memorial 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