Saplings a growing tribute

MOUNTAIN – Two tiny saplings sit dwarfed by the war memorial in the background, a tribute to those who came before and who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

Two Vimy oak saplings have been planted to the east and west of the Battle of Hill 70 memorial in Mountain. Press Photo – Uhrig

It’s hoped, however, that the additions will grow wild and free, soon to be majestic forces of nature in Mountain Memorial Park.

The Vimy oaks as they are known were planted ahead of a late August ceremony marking the 100th anniversary of the First World War’s Battle of Hill 70.

Each sapling has a storied history, one that is entwined with both the horrors of war and the peace that came after so many hard-fought battles.

Lieut. Leslie Miller, a soldier with the Canadian Expeditionary Force, sent acorns home to Canada that he gathered up after the Battle of Vimy Ridge in April 1917.

These acorns are now large majestic oaks on Miller’s former farm, today the home of the Scarborough Chinese Baptist Church.

The First World War wiped out all but one native oak known to survive in France today. Miller’s foresight, however, allowed for the repatriation of saplings to their original territory on Vimy Ridge.
Saplings have also been distributed to communities throughout Canada, including the two now calling Mountain home.