An expat in Vancouver: Neighborhood trees

Ah, a lovely winter day. That means “game on” on the neighborhood sports field.

IMG_0100It means the dog gets an extra long walk. Thoughts turn to a scenic turn along the water. We walk with heads up to the sun and notice the treetops.

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After Vancouver’s mountains and bays, I love its old trees best. I am charmed that many streets in my neighborhood of Kitsilano are named after tree species. (I live between Arbutus and Yew.) I can easily identify the old cedars, oversized holly bush, and cherry blossoms, but some of the gnarled, tall and ancient specimens are subspecies and just different enough from what I’ve been used to that I am not confident of my ability to identify them. Or, they’ve been trimmed or pollarded beyond common recognition.

So it was to my delight that I discovered, through a local friend, that the city cares enough about the contribution trees make to the character and liveability of its neighborhoods — and in its investment in planting them decades ago — that it tracks their health and identifies them per street. This discovery will put an end to my curiosity and guesswork.

In Kitsilano, we walk under canopies of leaves or thick branches from the familiar American Elms, English Oaks, Willows and Douglas Firs, but tucked here in there in between are the less obvious Sycamore Maples, Crimean Lindens and Hornbeam.

Yew St. Red Oaks

Yew St. Red Oaks

In Point Grey’s Jericho Beach, the landscaping includes trees that to my eye look best in their autumn color, even as I’ve yet to certify their identities. I think that’s a Paul’s Scarlet Hawthorn in the background here:

Jericho Beach park, autumn

Jericho Beach park, autumn

Japanese Flowering Crabapple, Jericho Beach park

Japanese Flowering Crabapple, Jericho Beach park

This might be a Weeping Cutleaf Birch:

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Have a look at the list. Know your neighborhood trees.

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About kmazz

I spend as much time as possible pursuing my interests in global culture, arts and politics.
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