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Toronto cyclists outraged after iconic tree cut down

No apparent reason given for removal of beloved maple

Cyclists, runners and walkers are heartbroken and angered by the arbitrary removal of a tree in the Don Valley at the foot of the trails. The tree was often used as a meeting point for cyclists or runners meeting up for rides and runs. The City of Toronto is currently performing some work on the driveway to Thorncliffe Park Boulevard, but the reasoning to remove the tree is still unexplained.

Apparently, the workers were concerned about safety at the bottom of the driveway with the tree, nicknamed “Cricket,” being the root of the problem.

Once informed about the problematic tree, the city planned to contact an arborist to look at solutions to dealing with it, but before it could, workers had already cut down Cricket and another tree.

There is currently a petition to save the tree, although it’s unclear if that’s even an option at this point. The creators of the petition, the “Don’t Mess with the Don” Facebook group, hope that the tree can be replanted in its former place, or somewhere new. The tree wasn’t just “a beautiful sight and shade on hot days, it formed a special meet-up place for many communities including mountain bikers, trail runners, hikers, dog walkers and families,” according to the petition. “This is where folks from all directions (literally and figuratively) came together to connect, share stories, laugh, rest and catch our breath before continuing our path into the valley.”

As many Torontonians know, it’s not a simple process to remove a tree. Even if you want a tree removed from your own property, you need a permit if the tree 12” or more in diameter. With such extensive rules surrounding trees in the city, fans of Cricket are all the more frustrated with the tree’s removal. There were no permits issued by the Urban Forestry department for the removal.

The petition points out the importance of parks to those living in a city, and how important nature is to helping folks recharge and decompress. As of Thursday afternoon, almost 618 people had signed the petition, but there was no word what the next steps were. Whether Cricket can be replanted, or a new tree will be planted in its stead, remains to be seen.