Local residents stand in silence, deep in thought and emotion, on an overpass to the Highway of Heroes, waiting for the repatriation convoy to pass. It is one small but hugely meaningful gesture to pay respect and honour a fallen hero. The all too familiar scene of the young and old, the first responders and Canadian flags lining overpasses is an event that was born in the Town of Cobourg, which grew to occur along the dedicated Highway of Heroes from Trenton to Keele Street in Toronto.

Another way to pay respect and honour those who have served our Country is to plant trees. In 2015, a group of tree-loving people were inspired to transform the Highway of Heroes into a living tribute that honours those who passed in Canada’s wars – 117,000 since Confederation. In addition to honouring our troops, the commemorative trees would clean the atmosphere, cool the environment and provide an inspired drive down an otherwise grey stretch of asphalt. The Highway of Heroes Tree Campaign was developed to make this a reality. 

Since that time, support has grown, as have the campaign’s ambitions. The 117,000 most prominent trees will be planted in honour of those who lost their lives, and in addition, a total of 2 million trees will be planted to recognize all Canadians who have served during times of war.

The Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority (GRCA) is a proud partner of the Highway of Heroes Tree Campaign and is helping them to achieve their planting goal. To date, and together with Forests Ontario’s 50 million tree program, the GRCA has planted/distributed a little over 100,000 trees within local watersheds in recognition of those who have served.

To find out how you can participate in the largest living memorial, please contact April Stevenson, Tree Planting Stewardship Manager with the Highway of Heroes Tree Campaign (april@treesforheroes.ca) or Pam Lancaster, Stewardship Technician at the Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority (plancaster@grca.on.ca).