Highway of Heroes Tree Campaign plants over 600,000 trees in honour of fallen soldiers

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

Over a quarter of the way there, an initiative to support the environment and honour Canada’s fallen heroes has planted over 600,000 in its fifth year.

The Highway of Heroes Tree Campaign is the work of Landscape Ontario and was initially proposed by the group’s London chapter.

The group was trying to look at reforestation plans when the idea of reforesting the Highway of Heroes from Trenton to Toronto was proposed. The 170-kilometre stretch of Highway 401 named the Highway of Heroes, honours Canadian soldiers killed in action since Confederation and including the War of 1812.

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

Since then, the initiative has taken off with an aim of planting 117,000 trees along the Highways of Heroes, one for each of the Canadians who have lost their lives in service since the War of 1812.

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“We are also planting 1.8-million more off the highways to acknowledge the sacrifice and unselfish nature of the 1.8-million Canadian’s who have volunteered for military services during times of war,” said Mark Cullen, chair of the project and executive director of Landscape Ontario.

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The remainder of the trees is being planted on people’s land who have volunteered to dedicate at least five acres towards reforestation.

Cullen said what started as an idea has now raised over $9-million, which covers the cost of the first 60,000 trees. In the last five years, over 3,500 people have donated to the campaign.

It costs $150 to plant a tree that Cullen said people could dedicate in honour of a loved one who served or someone they care about.

“Every tree we plant will clean the air, produce oxygen, filter toxins out of rainwater, and at the same time it will be a living memorial of those people that served in the Canadian military during times of war,” Cullen said.

He estimates that in the next two years, they will be able to reach their goal.

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