The Highway of Heroes tree-planting campaign received a substantial financial boost this week.
On Thursday at CFB Trenton, the Ontario provincial government announced $1 million in funding to further the initiative. Highway 401 between Glenn Miller Road in Trenton and Keele Street in Toronto is recognized as the Highway of Heroes, representing the final journey of Canadian Armed Forces members who died in service of their country.
Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney did the honours in making the announcement.
“Our government is very proud to announce a million dollars of funding to support tree planting along the Highway of Heroes, honouring fallen Canadian soldiers and service members, and this is in partnership with the Highway of Heroes Tree Planting campaign,” Mulroney said.
The goal is to plant 117,000 trees along the highway, representing one tree for every soldier who died in Canada since Confederation.
Over 52,000 trees have been planted since the project started in 2016.
“It’s a symbolic demonstration of the support of our community for our members in uniform, past present and future,” said Col. Ryan Deming, base commander at CFB Trenton.
“It serves as a constant reminder why our members in uniform do what they do on a daily basis and it demonstrates a positive effect that a community can have on a base of serving members.”
Not only do the trees honour the fallen, but according to the chair and co-founder of the campaign Mark Cullen, they’re also good for the environment.
“To plant a tree is to plant nature’s miracle. It sequesters carbon, it produces oxygen, it filters toxins out of rain water — it does so many different things,” Cullen said.
After the announcement, a physically-distanced sod-turning took place before a plaque was unveiled at one of the first trees to be planted at the passenger terminal at CFB Trenton — all a part of the living tribute.