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Kelowna's Greenway tree emerges as symbol for Remembrance Day

Dave and Marsha Nicol happen upon a little birch tree on the Mission Creek Greenway adorned with poppies and white crosses for Remembrance Day, Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2015.
November 11, 2015 - 2:30 PM

KELOWNA - The fairies of the Mission Creek Greenway are still tending to a lonely green tree in a forest of yellow leaves this November, but perhaps for the first time, they’ve got people talking about a different holiday.

It’s not unusual for greenway walkers or runners to find the little birch tree decorated for Valentine’s Day, Easter, Canada Day or Christmas. According to the Central Okanagan Regional District parks department, the tradition started in 2000 by Pearl Jakins, a senior who lives in the area.

She noticed one day that someone placed a Christmas card in the tree so she began adding her own decorations. Soon others started adding them as well and for two years, they developed their own little community tradition until it was felled a couple of years later by a beaver. Sometime in 2008, the tradition was renewed — as the tree was renewed — when Jakins saw noticed a small off-shoot that’s now big enough to be decorated itself.

Parks staff say Jakins has had trouble getting around and hasn’t been able to decorate the tree, but someone has. Reached by phone yesterday, she said she wasn't aware the tree was now decorated for Remembrance Day with white crosses and red poppies, a reminder that before Christmas takes hold, we have this important occasion to attend to.

Remembrance Day is particularly important to Dave and Marsha Nicol, caught strolling by on a beautiful Wednesday morning the week before Remembrance Day. They help arrange Nov. 11 services in their hometown and Marsha is near tears talking about her own dad who was at Juno Beach. They have seen the little birch tree with different decorations and were touched to find it yesterday.

"I think it’s a fantastic idea,” Dave says. “To have this kind of respect on a public access like this where people can be reinforced with that message couldn’t be a better idea.”

While social media has lately begun to reinforce the notion that Christmas and holiday season decorating must wait until Nov. 12, perhaps the sight of a little evergreen tree decorated for Remembrance Day might help enjoin the two.

Do you know who decorated the tree? Let us know in the comments section.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Marshall Jones at or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015
InfoTel News Ltd

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