Highway of Heroes Tree Campaign to plant memorial trees on private land

The Highway of Heroes Tree Campaign is expanding to privately owned land. Highway of Heroes Living Tribute/Facebook

The Highway of Heroes Tree Campaign is expanding with a new program for tree planting on privately owned land.

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Now in its fourth year, the tree campaign has planted more than 100,000 trees between Trenton and Toronto. It ties in with the 170-kilometre stretch of Highway 401 named the Highway of Heroes, which honours Canadian soldiers killed in action since Confederation and including the War of 1812.

When the program launched four year ago, the goal was to plant 117,000 trees — one for every life lost while serving in the Canadian Armed Forces.

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To date, the trees have been planted on municipal and provincial lands, including 30 planted Saturday at the Haldimand Memorial Arena and Park in Grafton. The ceremony included Northumberland veterans and the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 580.

At the ceremony, Mark Cullen, event host and tree campaign chairman and co-founder, announced that the campaign would be expanding with a new program for private landowners who have 2.5 acres or more of open land within 15 kilometres of the highway.

“Eighty to 90 per cent of the cost of planting trees on your property could be covered through this limited-time offer,” he said. “Through our Private Landowner Partnership program, you could have a piece of the world’s largest living tribute while doing your part to protect our environment, beautify our communities and honour our Canadian heroes.”

Cullen said depending on the size of the land and number of trees planted, landowners may qualify to save up to 75 per cent on property taxes by having their property classified as a managed forest.

Interested landowners can find more details about the new program online or at 1-844-277-4376 (HERO).

“This tribute offers an opportunity to tell the story of those that have served in the Armed Forces and remind travellers along the highway of the great debt we owe these courageous Canadians,” said Cullen. “It will also provide a myriad of environmental benefits for generations to come.”

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The Highway of Heroes Tree Campaign is supported by Veterans Affairs Canada, the government of Ontario, Mark’s Choice, Landscape Ontario, TD Bank, Frank Cowan Company, Tree Canada, the City of Toronto, the City of Quinte West, Rotary District 7070, Maple Leaves Forever, and the Garden Club of Toronto.

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