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Our moment at the Bytown Museum

Updated: Apr 22, 2020

Until September 30, 2012 people can visit the Bytown Museum to view an eye-opening exhibit called “Six Moments in the History of an Urban Forest.” The focus is on changes in the way people have managed, used, and enjoyed trees in the City of Ottawa over the last century.

One of those moments tells the story of last year’s struggle over a healthy and mature bur oak from Champlain Park. The oak — a sapling at the time of Confederation — fell to an infill development on Northwestern Avenue.

Joanna Dean and Will Knight from Carleton University obtained a cross-section of the tree to use in the exhibit (picture, above). As co-curators of the exhibit they outlined the City’s case and that of local community activists. One of their statements captures the tensions of that moment:

“The massive bur oak was not cut down without a fight. Neighbours fought against the trees’ removal, and mourned its loss.”

The other five moments of the exhibit are equally compelling stories from different eras. The stories reflect diverse perspectives on the role of trees in an urban environment. Well worth a visit.

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