Originally published 07/21/2013
A crowd gathered in front of a tree felled during Friday night’s thunderstorm to take pictures and collect a leaf or two as a memento and even mourn, for this was no ordinary tree.Perhaps 150 years old or more, the silver maple tucked away on Laing St. in Leslieville, is famous for being the inspiration of what used to be Canada’s unofficial anthem. Historians are dubious, but as the story goes, a persistent leaf from the tree stuck itself to poet Alexander Muir’s sleeve in the fall of 1867, serving as the inspiration for “The Maple Leaf Forever,” a poem-turned-song-turned-unofficial-anthem.But, “it’s not forever anymore,” said Julie Ritchie, watching the tree lying sprawled across the road from her front porch. “There was something really special about the tree, even though it was quite old and in bad shape.”...
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