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elm, tree, renovations, centre block, parliament
The 100-year old white elm stands over the statue of Sir John A. Macdonald. [Photo ⓒ Siena Domaradzki-Kim]

Century-old Parliament Hill elm tree awaits the axe

An historic century-old elm tree on Parliament Hill will be cut down, despite the best efforts of a local environmental group.

Because of excavation around the foundation of the Centre Block and proximity to a new visitors centre, the NCC says the tree will have to be removed.

The Greenspace Alliance has said it wants the tree to be left alone or moved. Here’s why.

The elm tree sits just east of Centre Block, beside the statue of Sir John A. Macdonald. Although the tree is around a century old, it will soon be cut down to make room for construction. [Photo ⓒ Nils Goetze]
A small crowd of concerned local residents recently gathered under the historic tree. To raise awareness of the significance of the elm and its plight. [Photo ⓒ Nils Goetze]
Paul Johanis, who chairs the Greenspace Alliance, says he believes the government isn’t doing enough to protect this tree. “The renovation will be over in 10 years. This tree is 100 years old [and] could live another 100.” [Photo ⓒ Siena Domaradzki-Kim]
Owen Clarkin believes the tree is an icon on Parliament Hill. “It’s appeared for decades in archival footage and Canada Day celebrations,” he said. [Photo ⓒ Siena Domaradzki-Kim]
Even though it was infected, the tree was treated and has outlasted many other elms in the region that have been killed by Dutch elm disease. [Photo ⓒ Nils Goetze]
People were interested to learn more about the tree. [Photo ⓒ Siena Domaradzki-Kim]
Clarkin says he believes this tree is strong enough to survive the renovations. “It can tolerate the abuse. I mean, like just look at this tree!” [Photo ⓒ Siena Domaradzki-Kim]
Johanis knows that time is running out for the tree. “I wake up every day and look at the Hill cam and I say ‘phew it’s still there,'” he said. [Photo ⓒ Nils Goetze]
Public Services and Procurement Canada has announced plans to create a sculpture with the wood from the fallen tree. Greenspace Alliance says a sculpture would be a last resort.
[Photo ⓒ Nils Goetze]
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