From the Archives: Bye bye, bigleaf maple

Jenny Seeman

For many people enjoying the beautiful weather this week and getting out in the gardens at Royal Roads, the arborist removal of a giant maple tree cannot have escaped attention. The tree has been removed for safety reasons as it had become irreparably weakened and was beginning to drop branches, which poses a hazard for both people and the surrounding trees and shrubs.

This bigleaf maple tree was one of the older trees in the formal garden areas laid out during the Dunsmuir era. Even back in the 1910s and 1920s, its canopy provided a shady spot for a picnic or to take a break. The area immediately west of the Italian garden was once a sweeping lawn punctuated by the pre-existing trees and was a popular spot during the many fetes and fundraising events that were held on the property. The landscape has changed over the years and a beautiful woodland garden and fernery now bridges the space between the Italian and Japanese gardens. 



Unlike these ladies, please avoid sitting in the area until the arborist has completed the work. Incidentally, the dog in this picture looks like he could fit the description of an advertised missing dog from Hatley Park in the Daily Colonist of March 6, 1914 (p.15): “Lost – From Hatley Park, heavily marked black, tan and white wire haired fox terrier. Finder please phone 654; reward”. Hopefully this picture was taken after 1914 and the dog was found!

For more information about the archives and the archival collections at Royal Roads, contact Jenny Seeman, ext. 4122.