Nominees for Tree of the Year 2023

Points to note about the descriptions here:

  • The trees are numbered in the order in which the nominations were received.
  • Quoted text was supplied by the nominators, and other details were added by the TOTY Committee.
  • Photos were supplied by the nominators unless otherwise noted.
  • Diameter of the trunk at breast height (meaning at 1.3 m above ground level) is denoted by DBH.
  • Click a photo to enlarge it.


  1. Common or European ash – Headquarters Rd.
  2. Pacific willow – Airpark
  3. Arbutus – East Rd., Denman Isl.
  4. Garry oak – Berwick residence, Comox
  5. London plane – 2nd St. at Pidcock, Courtenay
  6. Douglas fir wildlife tree – Smith Rd., Merville
  7. Silk or mimosa – Bolt Ave., Comox
  8. Douglas fir – Kitty Coleman Park
  9. Western redcedar – Barbara Greenway in Seal Bay Park
  10. Douglas fir – 1950 Comox Ave.
  11. Lombardy poplar – Filberg Park
  12. Douglas fir – Comox Bluffs Ecological Reserve
  13. Scotch pine – Filberg Park
  14. Sitka spruce – Mack Laing Nature Park
  15. Giant sequoia – 1495 Baybrook Ave., Comox
  16. Douglas fir – opposite 1455 Anderton Ave., Courtenay
  17. English oak – near 1501 Dingwall Rd., Courtenay
  18. London plane – bordering parking lot at 215 Port Augusta St., Comox
  19. Bigleaf maple – Rosewall Provincial Park
  20. Black cottonwood – near Tsolum River in C.V. Exhibition Grounds
  21. Douglas fir, western redcedar, interwined – near Tsolum River in C.V. Exhibition Grounds
  22. Bigleaf maple – in Roy Morrison Park, Courtenay
  23. Bigleaf maple – Hurford Hill Nature Park
  24. Horse chestnut – at Harmston and 5th St., Courtenay
  25. Tulip tree – Courtenay Marine Park
  26. Western redcedar – 3238 Second St., Cumberland
  27. Western white pine – on trail starting from McDonald Rd. and Inverclyde Way, Courtenay

1. Common or European Ash (Fraxinus excelsior)

Photo: Karen Cummins

Location: 5051 Headquarters Rd, Courtenay. GPS 49.71835, -125.00896

This very large tree grows to the right of the Hansen farm house as you look up the driveway. It is 150 cm DBH and 32 m tall. The property owner, Kay Hansen, confirmed the story that the nominator had heard about this tree. It came by ship from England as a seedling with settler William Harmston who planted it on this site in 1862. Kay and her family have lived on the farm since 1968 and have lovingly cared for this tree. Most recently the deck adjacent to the tree was altered to accommodate the huge and still expanding girth. Many family photos have been taken over the years with this tree as the backdrop.

Submitted by Anonymous.


2. Pacific Willow (Salix lasiandra var. lasiandra)

Location: Courtenay Airpark: Start on Courtenay Riverway Heritage Walk path from Mansfield Drive / Rotary Skypark Playground (GPS 49.67633, -124.97973) and walk or cycle to the east towards the lagoon / pavilion (5 minute walk). Standing on the wood bridge pavilion (GPS 49.67839, -124.97841, picture taken here) look north across the lagoon outflow to see the group of willow trees standing at the edge. For closer inspection walk through the pavilion, turn onto the grass pathway to the left. Caution: you will encounter rose bushes and blackberries if you try to get really close to the willows. GPS of the nominated and largest tree: 49.67895, -124.97852.

With a DBH of 44 cm and 13 m in height this is not a huge tree. However, as confirmed by the photo sent, the nominator thought this tree is special because “It has spectacular colour in the winter.”

Submitted by Anonymous.


3. Arbutus (Arbutus menziesii)

Location: On Denman Island, on East Rd. just before the Hornby Ferry landing, at the end of the Driftwood Farm fence line, on the west side of the road. GPS of tree: 49.49316, -124.71052

This is “the biggest arbutus I have ever seen”, said the nominator before she shared that she feared this tree was threatened by the proposed expansion of the nearby ferry landing. It now appears this tree is not part of the expansion area and the project itself is for now in abeyance. It is a very large arbutus at 114 cm DBH and 25 m tall and could be 200-300 years old.

“If folks come over to Denman, a little further down the road from the arbutus, people can look at the blazes on the more than 140 trees that are slated for removal to expand the ferry terminal to Hornby. We have been protesting this and have won a stay of execution for the next few months, so we can come up with a better plan.” Those who are interested can contact Christine at

Submitted by Christine W. Photo: Karen Cummins


4. Garry oak (Quercus garryana)

Location: In Comox, in the front and at the east edge of Berwick Comox Valley, 1700 Comox Ave. GPS of site: 49.67261, -124.92278. GPS of tree: 49.672186, -124.92185

“This tree and its smaller partner have a beautiful graphic character in the winter and shade the residence in the summer. This oak is one of three that were to be cut down during the expansion of the Berwick Residence in Comox. The plan was eventually modified to allow two of the oaks to be saved. They are a great example of “urban” trees and how keeping the trees can enhance the character of a building and help make a downtown area more livable.” The larger Garry oak is 64 cm DBH and 20 m in height.

Submitted by Bob Hauser.


5. London plane (Platanus acerifolia)

Location: On the corner of Pidcock and 2nd St. in Courtenay, in front of 980 2nd St.
GPS 49.6884614, -125.0106801

“These trees were planted as a school project overseen by Edward and Jack Orr on Sycamore Street (now 2nd St.), who built 3 homes on the street in 1929 and 1930. Originally there were 8 trees. Two of these historic homes are still in use, and we live nearby. The Courtenay Museum has more history.

“The trees are magnificent and beautiful. They produce copious large, thick maple-like leaves, which turn a rich golden brown in the Fall, and keep us and the street sweeping truck very busy. They shed their bark in patches. One November, I identified foxfire fungus up high in one of the trees, a scattering of phosphorescent green in the branches.”

These stately trees are 116 cm DBH and 25.7 m tall.

Submitted by Anonymous.


6. Douglas fir wildlife tree (Pseudotsuga menziesii ssp. menziesi)

Location: On Smith Rd. in Merville, access the trail to the tree from the southeast side of the bridge crossing Portuguese Creek. If you are in a car you should park at the NIDES school at the corner of Hwy. 19A and Smith Rd. Walk through the driveway into the farm field to the southeast of the bridge. (GPS of this point: 49.76434, -125.03215.) Follow the path (Evan’s Trail) that runs along the creek. You will walk about 5 minutes (237 m) and cautiously (and at your own risk) cross a rough pallet bridge. Once past the leaning trees with exposed roots, walk and look to your left to find this tree and the embellishments the children have left. The tree is about 2 m tall and 29 cm DBH. (If you get to the wet area where there are rubber tires, you have gone a little too far!). GPS of the tree is 49.76317, -125.03029.

The owner of this private land has generously invited the community to view this tree. Please be respectful as you walk to the tree and return to Smith Rd.

“This special tree has played an important role in many children’s games during class forest walks. He’s been a source of joy for kids having a bad day. He always has something interesting to say. He has cautiously housed many prized possessions and secret messages. He has made the trees feel alive and has fostered a sense of connection to the forest.”

Submitted by Jamie Dobbs.


7. Silk tree or mimosa (Abizia julibrissin)

Location: 2088 Bolt Ave., Comox. GPS 49.684697, -124.938933.

“We inherited this tree when we bought our home in 2010. It leafs out late, around June. The flowers appear in late July or early August and are simply stunning. The perfume is wonderful.”

The tree is now about 28 years old and is 9 m tall, the trunk is 57 cm DBH, and the canopy spreads 12 m across the front yard.

Submitted by Kathy Tae.


8. Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii ssp. menziesii)

Location: Kitty Coleman Provincial Park: 6120 Whitaker Rd. is the official entrance for this Class C Park, but the easiest access is to go to very near the end of Davey Janes Rd. off the southern portion of Aldergrove Dr. Look for the yellow metal gate (GPS at this point is 49.786506,-124.993089) and the path beyond it that goes straight down the hill toward the creek. This tree is to the right of the path at the bottom, and you can’t miss it. (GPS of tree 49.78691, -124.99378)

It is 270 cm DBH and 49 m in height. It is over 500 years old, having survived both logging in the area and the Merville fire in the 1930s. This tree was previously nominated for Tree of the Year in 2021.

‘’ This tree is special because when my girls were young we would go camping there. It’s almost as if we could see it grow over the last 30 years. We love to hug the tree but it was always bigger than us even when we held our hands together.”

Submitted by Danielle Lambrecht.


9. Western redcedar (Thuja plicata)

Location: Barbara Greenway in Seal Bay Park. Start at ~5129 Venture Road, Courtenay; entrance for greenway at Venture and Barbara Rd (49.73681, -124.98197). Take the Grieve trail directly on your right, walk until you’ve passed the hobby farm. The tree will be on your left a few metres away (GPS of tree 49.73829, -124.98436). The form of this unique tree will stand out.

The trunk is 87 cm in diameter and the tree is 26 m in height.

“This tree is protected by being in Seal Bay Park. My estimate is that it is 120 years old. At some time in its life, this cedar tree fell over and landed on a Douglas fir stump. It then grew a second root system down the fir stump, about 4 metres from its base. Three new trees then grew from the original trunk. I marvel at the tree’s tenacity.”

Submitted by Ted Grainger.


10. Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii ssp. menziesii)

Location: 1950 Comox Ave., Comox, very near the sidewalk. (GPS of tree 49.6755, -124.9330).

It is a very prominent tree standing 28 m tall with a DBH of 90 cm.

“This magnificent tree is in a very visible location, close to the sidewalk along Comox Ave. However, if you take a close look, you will see English Ivy is smothering the tree, and will eventually kill it. Many other trees on both public and private land in Comox have been attacked by this highly invasive plant. Trees, like this one, are essential for our survival by providing shade as well as oxygen.”

Fred N., one of the ToTY committee members who checked this tree noted: “The tree is a survivor and very resilient. Age is probably 100 years, a kind of reference year I’ve found in Comox. It’s almost like fashion changed and a yard could no longer shelter a growing Douglas fir. The resilience refers to the tree’s position between two paved surfaces and a house foundation, and to the topping that’s occurred twice so there are now multiple leaders, and to the bole surrounded by ivy climbing up to the lower limbs, 20 feet up. If you wanted a history of development in Comox, this would be the tree to ask as it has had a roadside view. Unfortunately, the tree may not survive as the very ground between its roots is proposed for development”.

Submitted by Alora Griffen.


11. Lombardy poplar (Populus nigra ‘Italica’)

Location: Filberg Park, 61 Filberg Rd, Comox. Enter the park and follow the driveway until you reach the archway on your right leading to the grape/wisteria arbour. Walk through the arbour and by the potting shed building at the end and look to your right. The poplar is the very large tree at the end of the low fence backing the garden bed. (GPS of tree 49.6704337, -124.9164763)

“This beautiful poplar is among the largest trees in the park and was likely planted around the time the Filberg Heritage Lodge was built making it approximately 90 years old. It is 41 m tall and 177 cm DBH. Visitors to the park are regularly seen gazing up into the tree canopy and admiring its very distinct gnarled and furrowed bark, and the park wildlife regularly visit its branches. In a park full of spectacular mature trees this statuesque beauty stands out.”

Submitted by Tryna McLean.


12. Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii ssp. menziesii)

Location: Comox Bluffs Ecological Reserve (BC Parks), approximately 5 km SW of Courtenay on the north shore of Comox Lake. If you are not familiar with Comox Bluffs ER you may want to read more about it here.

Ecological reserves are not created for outdoor recreation, but many are open to the public for non-destructive pursuits like hiking, nature observation and photography. Comox Lake Bluffs Ecological Reserve was established in 1996 to protect the unusual dry-site plant communities in the Coastal Western Hemlock Zone. Consumptive uses, bicycles and motorized vehicles are prohibited, as are fires.

Park at the very unobtrusive second pull-out parking area on the left on Comox Lake Mainline after crossing the bridge where Comox Lake flows into the Puntledge River (GPS of parking area 49.641380, -125.104254). Follow the trail to the first sign with information about the ecological reserve. Continue on the trail to the right until you meet the creek drainage area. The tree is across the creek and down near where the creek flows into the bay on the lake. Unfortunately, there is no bridge and no well-defined path across the drainage area so find the best crossing you can and follow the creek down to where it flows into the lake and you will likely be able to spot this massive Douglas fir that is 55 m tall and 226 cm in diameter. (GPS of the tree 49.63887, -125.10839)

“A friend and I stumbled upon this magnificent fir while trail running near Tomato Creek. A small bridge over the creek had been washed away during a recent storm, so we searched for another crossing and eventually traversed another massive tree that had fallen over the creek years ago. As we headed back in the direction of the trail, we suddenly found ourselves in the shadow of this indescribably beautiful old-growth fir that seemed to have been forgotten when this area was originally logged. I had no idea there were any old growth trees left so close to town! It felt serendipitous to find this old soul in the forest near a trail I’ve run for years. This tree has lodged itself into a special place in my heart and I’ve since hiked out with my children and parents to share its wonder. Last year, after 22 years of not finding a suitably venerated location, we finally spread my brother’s ashes at the base of this majestic tree. It cannot be seen from the lake despite its proximity, and, although it’s only a short hike from Comox Logging road, it feels hidden and protected, as if it were meant to only be discovered by other wandering souls. I would love to learn more about this tree’s story and why it was left behind when the rest of the area was logged years ago. Perhaps a previous generation of wanderers also found themselves inexplicably in awe of this magnificent tree whose beauty silently demands respect and inspires wonder.”

Submitted by: Sarah Vallintine.


13. Scotch pine (Pinus sylvestris)

Location: Filberg Park, 61 Filberg Rd, Comox. As for Tree #11, enter the park and follow the driveway until you reach the archway on your right leading to the grape/wisteria arbour. Walk through the arbour and by the potting shed building at the end and look to your right. (GPS of tree 49.67036, -124.91654)

“It is the tree with the face on it [just beyond Tree #11, Lombardy poplar]. The DBH is 21 cm and the height is 19 m. Filberg Park is a Municipal Heritage Park. Approximately 16 years ago, Town of Comox Parks staff put a face on the tree as a joke, and it has stayed there ever since. Kids groups that visit the Park have been known to stop at this specimen each morning to say hello to ‘Mr. Tree.’ It’s a fun addition for kids that visit the Park to see a large tree with a face smiling at them.”

Submitted by Linda Thomas.


14. Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis)

Location: From the end of Comox Avenue in Comox find the trail entrance to Mack Laing Nature Park and walk down the short hill. This spruce tree is to the left of and just before the pedestrian bridge that crosses Brooklyn Creek. (GPS of the tree 49.67179, -124.91123).

“It is a very large Sitka spruce with the trunk 148 cm DBH and 37 m in height. When I read Mack Laing’s recently published journals where he describes clearing his land to build homes and to plant the filbert nut orchard, I’m even more grateful that he left so many trees to mature. This Sitka spruce is just one of many.”

Submitted by Shirley.


15. Giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum)

Location: Front yard of 1495 Baybrook Avenue, Comox. The property owner reported he hired an arborist to take 10′ off one side of the co-dominant tree to prevent it splitting. From this viewing of the tree, there is an entrance to Baybrook Park at the junction of Baybrook Avenue and Orchard Park Drive. Through the yellow gate and down the road is access to the park and the ocean. (GPS of the tree 49.670870, -124.914280)

“The height of the tree is 20 m and the trunk is 163 cm DBH. The size of this tree attracted me, and now I know that sequoias are fast growers. Owner, Ken Rowe, reported the unique street shapes and house placements in this neighbourhood were determined to preserve some of the trees at the time. This is another benefit of the Tree of the Year event–learning more about trees and meeting friendly owners.”

Submitted by Anonymous.


16. Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii ssp. menziesii)

Location: in Courtenay, opposite 255 (Parkview Place) Anderton Ave., and next to Riverside Park, on the east side of the street. (GPS of tree 49.69363679174692, -124.99739586206506)

The tree, 31 m tall and 100 cm DBH, is best viewed from the exercise station on Anderton Ave., or from the Comox River side of the tree. The nominator took the photo of the tree with her drone.

“When I was younger, I used to pass this tree every day on my way to school and think about how cool and unique it looked. There was a time when the tree almost came into contact with the telephone wires, but after the city intervened, I don’t think the tree has tried to grow a branch in its direction since. The missing branches give the tree a sort of spiral effect with how the branches go up the tree. To my knowledge, the tree has no significance in the community other than its beauty, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t special.”

Submitted by Indie Kotyk.


17. English or common oak (Quercus robur)

Location: Adjacent to the Sandwick War Memorial/Cairn (1501 Dingwall Rd, Courtenay). (GPS of war memorial 49.70275004029653, -124.9906007758502; GPS of tree 49.7025612, 124.9905207) If you are in a car, park either at the end Back Road where it nearly intersects with Dingwall or at the church across the street from the cairn.

The trunk of this nearly 90 year-old oak is 98 cm DBH and it is 25.7 m tall.

“The oak tree at the south-west corner of the cairn was planted in June of 1937 to commemorate the Coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. This “Royal Oak” was sent from Windsor Park (Windsor Castle), one of many such oak seedlings planted in the countries of the Empire. The oak was planted by J.B. Holmes who had lost his son in the Great War. Planted to commemorate the coronation of King George VI and this year is the coronation of his grandson King Charles III.”

Submitted by Jim Whyte.


18. London plane (Platanus acerifolia)

Location: In Comox, this tree borders the Comox Mall parking lot at 215 Port Augusta. (GPS of mall property 49.6745916670146, -124.92386828799464). It faces west toward the Lorne Hotel property and is very near the bus stop on Port Augusta. (GPS of tree 49.673482, -124.925369)

It is 18 m tall and 110 cm DBH. It is not known at this time if this tree will be protected by the new Town of Comox Tree Policy guidelines if the proposed development on this corner of the mall is approved.

“This well-established tree, with its distinctive speckled trunk, has offered welcome shade to cars lucky enough to park beneath its shade during our hot summer season. When in full leaf it is a valuable natural asset to both humans and our feathered friends. I have gazed upon it numerous times when parked in the area, marvelling at its beauty. It will be a sad day when it is removed due to the apartment complex that most likely will go in, right at the corner of Comox Ave. and Port Augusta St. As its leaves shudder and fall when they take this noble tree down, so too will my tears of sadness.”

Submitted by Joanne McKechnie.


19. Bigleaf maple (Acer macrophyllum)

Location: Rosewall Creek Provincial Park, 3 km south of Fanny Bay on Highway 19A and off Berray Rd. (GPS of park entrance 49.45619, -124.77451) The tree is between parking areas 1 and 2, when following entrance road to the right, and the tree is on the right just before the sign kiosk where a narrow path leads to the river.

“This monster maple tree (height 29 m and trunk 145 cm DBH), is part of an expansive grove of bigleaf maples contributing to the riparian zone along Rosewall Creek. Rosewall Creek Provincial Park was established in 1956 in memory of Lieutenant Ian MacDonald (1920-1944). The park provides protection for these bigleaf maples, coastal western hemlock and the creek which is a coho and chum spawning stream. This tree was probably a sapling when Rosewall Creek was known as Donaldson River in the late 1890s. Then, as it shot up, benefiting from salmon carcasses dragged onto the creek banks, it no doubt witnessed the 1914 laying down of the Esquimalt & Nanaimo Railway, 75 m from its spreading canopy. Today it is evident this huge maple has seen trauma. One of its main branches has broken off leaving a pointed and weathered spur. Not unlike the other maples in the grove, it wears an undulating blanket of moss and ferns, giving the trunk a soft and woolly appearance. This is certainly not the most beautiful tree but it definitely has a wealth of history and character.”

Submitted by Pamela L.


20. Black cottonwood (Populus balsamifera ssp. trichocarpa)

Location: Comox Valley Exhibition Grounds (4839 Headquarters Rd, Courtenay) in the natural area along the Tsolum River. The trees are about 500 m or a 5-minute walk from the parking lot beside the Curling Centre: walk west down the single lane gravel road going slightly down hill that is signed as Tsolum River Access Rd. Continue past the yellow post onto the wide pathway and into the trees. The path curves left, and then take the next curving path to the right. Shortly you will come to the grouping of western redcedar and Douglas fir (which is nominee #21) on the left side of the path. Immediately after these trees there is a junction where you go straight and shortly come to another junction where you go left. Where this short trail intersects the trail along the river you will find this big cottonwood. (GPS of the tree 49.704877 -125.007263)

The tree is 35 m tall and 130 cm DBH.

“There are few large open grown cottonwoods in the valley. This is a beauty that hundreds of people walking their dogs or enjoying Folk Fest walk by.”

Submitted by Verna Mumby.


21. Douglas fir and western redcedar (7 trees in an intertwined grove)

Location: Comox Valley Exhibition Grounds natural area. Please follow the directions for Tree #20 to find this grove of trees. (GPS of grove 49.704851 -125.007057)

“This is an intergrowing group of 7 trees; from 30 cm to over 100 DBH. Heights of 35 m. I love how this group of trees have grown and thrived and shared and cared for each other. I’ve assessed trees for years and this grove is so interesting. There is no sign of conflict or dominance, just different species of trees working together becoming a beautiful group specimen.”

Submitted by Verna Mumby.


22. Bigleaf maple (Acer macrophylum)

Location: In Roy Morrison Park, Courtenay. Enter from beside 2116 Embleton Cres., across from the playground (GPS 49.68181844328574, -125.02097320334015). Cross the bridge over Morrison Creek, bear right, cross a second bridge. Take the left-most trail past the Lamprey sign with the river on your left. The path goes down into a gully and up again before you reach the steep slope that goes down to Arden Creek. Walk past the first steep path down to Arden Creek and towards the stump straight ahead. The tree is on the left, about 12 paces from the steep path you passed. It has a small metal tag with 647 stamped on it. Not as large as some old maples but is the height of the conifers and other mature trees in that area. (GPS of the tree 49.6804238, -125.0140255)

“‘THE HOLY TREE.’ I think it’s unusual to find a tree that has a hole through its middle and for it to still be alive! It also has a metal pulley attached to it with wires hanging out from it as well as evidence of wires wrapped around the tree. This area has been logged more than once but the bigleaf maples were not taken. It does strike me that we use living trees for our convenience without much thought of how wires and attachments affect the trees’ well-being. This part of the park is in fact School Board property. The School Board had a number of mature bigleaf maples cut down in this area a couple of years ago. A disc golf course was set up extending into this area. The Morrison Creek Streamkeepers expressed serious concerns for the Arden Creek habitat and the golf was moved to be only on the Lake Trail school side of the creek. Extensive rehabilitation has recently been done on the Arden Creek to improve habitat.”

The Tree of the Year committee believes that two trunks have, over time, fused, producing the hole in the tree.

Submitted by Angela Dawson.


23. Bigleaf maple (Acer macrophylum)

Location: Hurford Hill Nature Park, Courtenay. Access from McPherson Place (cul de sac with parking, beside 1729 Hobson Avenue). Tree is 100 m up the trail. (GPS of tree 49.695259124963, 124.96646389119)

“This remarkable tree is one of the few remaining bigleaf maple mother trees in the Comox Valley. At 163 cm diameter and 31 m tall, this giant is estimated to be approximately 300 years old and was a sapling nearly 150 years before settlers began arriving in the area. As a mother tree, this maple is connected via the mycorrhizal network to likely 100s of other trees in the surrounding mixed coniferous-deciduous forest. It is a communication hub and provides and receives carbon from its many neighbours, enhancing regeneration, supporting biodiversity and conserving carbon. It is an essential component of the forest and provides critical resilience as our local climate becomes hotter and drier. When observed from below, the finely textured brown bark of the twinned stems draws the eye upwards into the majestic tapering branches of the widely spreading canopy. In the spring, the newly emerging bright green leaves are magnificently set off against an azure sky. Gorgeous.”

Submitted by Shane Tillapaugh.


24. Horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum)

Location: Courtenay at the west corner of Harmston and Fifth beside the Yellow Deli Restaurant. (GPS -125.00348760377, 49.689151841462)

“Unusual to see such a large tree, 14 m tall and 83 cm diameter trunk, on the streetscape. May have been planted when the Old Orchard was subdivided in the late 1890s.”

Submitted by Anonymous.


25. Tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera)

Location: In the Courtenay Marina Park at the foot of 20th St. in Courtenay (GPS 49.68162906975399, -124.98467978799457). When you arrive at the parking lot at the Marina Park look to the south-west towards the Comox Valley Rhododendron Garden (cared for by the North Island Rhododendron Society) that is near the Riverway trail. This tree is the large specimen, 25 m tall and 85 cm DBH, in the very centre of the rhododendron garden.

Liriodendron tulipifera is the tallest of North American hardwood species. Its flowers provide for pollinator insects and hummingbirds. This tree gives crucial summer shade to the public rhododendron garden that it grows in.”

Submitted by Kelly Royer.


26. Western redcedar (Thuja plicata )

Location: 3238 Second Street, Cumberland. GPS 49.61801, -125.02902. It is in the north corner of the yard closest to Derwent St.

This multi-stemmed tree is 15 m in height and the trunks range from 15 to 20 cm DBH.

“Twenty-five years ago I removed the 3′ long bare roots of this tree from the underside of a floating boom log at Comox Lake about 150′ off shore by lying face down on the log and reaching around it under water. I had walked out on the boom logs to the 6th log out from the boat launch at Comox Lake to fish for trout on a spring morning. After 90 minutes or so I gave up and started back to shore. I noticed an 8″ baby cedar growing on the rotten end of the 3rd or 4th log out from shore, and decided to take it home and plant it in the ground at my mother’s home, a 130 year old heritage house. Having planted between 2,000,000 and 3,000,000 trees in B.C. and Alberta between 1989 and 2007 I recognized it as a natural seedling from a cone, as opposed to nursery trees in peat-plug which are cloned and have no tap root. So this tree is special to me because the conifer is a symbol of eternal life, and regeneration in Christian faith and pagan beliefs alike.”

Submitted by Matthew Safford.


27. Western white pine (Pinus monticola)

Location: In Courtenay, on the well-travelled Idiens trail network closest to the Inverclyde Way and McDonald Rd. trail entrance and at the end of the straight stretch before the 90 degree turn heading north. (GPS of tree 49.6931612, -124.94445936)

“This vibrant, silvery green beauty is a cornerstone of the Idiens trail system. Nestled into the protected natural space at the end of McDonald Road off Lerwick, the elegant western white pine stands 30 m tall (DBH 75 cm) and straight, high above its younger fir, cedar and maple neighbours. Not commonly seen at this maturity in an urban setting, it immediately stands out to those who are looking up! The soft needles fan out on the whirled balanced branches high above me and seems to hold my attention and calm me as I admire it.

“The western white pine is native to BC and grows best on well drained sites that are rich in nutrients. The First Nations used the white pines for many uses; carving, medicine, food, decoration, resins for gluing and sewing. The rapid growth, minimum taper, straight grained, and light colour of wood made this species a favourite for specialty wood products. What I love most about this western white pine is its presence. I invite you to slow down, gaze high up into its branches. Breathe in the phytoncides that are emitted by the trees to protect themselves from bacteria and predators and to communicate with other trees. To humans, phytoncides give us a boost in our immunity, improve mood, lower blood pressure and even increase special cancer fighting natural killer cells! So breathe deeply and take in all that western white pines have to offer us humans.”

Submitted by S.N. Photo by Shirley Krotz.
(This tree was also nominated for Tree of the Year in 2022 by Shirley Krotz.)