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ReForest London’s Old East Tree Sale A Great Success

With buyers eagerly waiting to purchase their trees at 7:30am on Saturday morning, the ReForest London volunteers knew the Old East Tree Sale would be a success.  And a success it was with 115 trees preordered and over 60 trees purchased on site.  In fact, an hour before the scheduled end of the sale, ReForest London was already down to its last few trees. The sale was made possible through generous funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, collaborations with the Old East Village Community Association and thanks to the enthusiastic staff and volunteers from ReForest London.

Man and child look at the trees for saleCustomers ranged from first time buyers to those who attend the ReForest London tree sales every spring.   The sale signs drew in passers-by who were on their way to work or taking their kids on a stroll.   Avid gardener Tom Butler was out walking his dog when he stumbled upon the tree sale outside Lorne Avenue Public School.  Pleased with the affordable prices, he ended up purchasing a Plum Tree to plant in his backyard.  The sale also brought back returning customers like Pat and Rick Kirkpatrick who look forward to the great deals and expert advice every year.   This year, Rick decided to kick-off his 70th birthday by purchasing some trees at the sale and getting some helpful backyard landscaping advice from ReForest London staff member and landscape architect Gabriele Sanio.  
tree sale customer with Tree sale tree

New neighbourhood tree captain Ian McCann also stopped by with his son to check out the sale and mingle with staff and volunteers.  Ian has a unique motivation for getting involved with ReForest London.  As he explains,  “in my day-to-day job, I fix and repair sewers so trees are often like a nemesis of ours because of the roots and the location of them.  I’ll be there on the job site where we have to cut down a big old tree, which I don’t like doing but it happens as part of the job. Equally as much in my free time, I’d rather plant more [trees] or get more in the ground so that there are more around.”  Ian’s impressive social commitment to give back to his city and the environment shows that despite the need to develop the city and it’s infrastructure, it important to maintain a balance and replant trees that are taken down in various development projects. 


Tree Sale Coordinator Elaine Smit was pleased to be a part of the successful sale by getting costumers excited about what’s happening on their property and educating people about ReForest London and its exciting projects and events.  Having worked with ReForest London back in 2012, Elaine is glad to see the tremendous growth of the organization in just a couple short years.  She explained how great it is “coming back now and just seeing all of the different positions that are now in the office, the need for different people … They’re working with the schools in a much more integrated way ... If there is someone in the city with an interest in doing these environmental projects, ReForest London is a great partner.  Whatever role they end up taking in it, they’re fantastic to have on board.”

Tree sale customersWith a Master’s degree in Environmental Studies and a Bachelor’s degree in Landscape Architecture, not only is Elaine the perfect fit for the ReForest London tree sales, she loves being a part of them. “I enjoy it because it’s a chance to interact with people about the individual tree species.  If you’re at the naturalization projects that ReForest London does you don’t get to sit and talk about the individual tree species.”  Elaine explains that ReForest London carefully selects their trees depending on whether the plant site is wet, clay, sandy or dry.  “Different trees have different needs, so [they] pay close attention to that for bringing the trees to the site.  But the people planting the trees don’t necessarily know that and here’s an opportunity to explain to people about all the different characteristics of the trees and just interact with the community as well …  It’s just a great way to engage with people about the Million Tree Challenge … [and] just be really positive about that aspect of London.”   
Family of tree sale customers
All the trees were tagged with a link to London’s Million Tree Challenge website and ReForest London is hoping it’s buyers will visit the site and register their trees as part of the count.  With help from great organizations like ReForest London, our city is well on its way to achieving its goal of a million trees planted.  Of course, ReForest London understands that it’s not just about getting people to plant trees, but to plant the right trees in the right areas.  As one of ReForest London’s new volunteer Tree Captains, Barbara Riddel, explains, “a big part of it is getting all of these million trees out to people, but unless people know how to grow them or know what conditions that they fit in then we’re going to have a million trees dying.”  This is why the ReForest London tree sales are such a fantastic tool for the organization to educate the public about trees species that are native to their area, and which trees are invasive.  Their team of experts will offer customers expert advice, great deals on wide variety of tree species, and a fun way to interact with your neighbours and get involved with the community.

Now that the snow has finally gone for good and spring is ushering in some warmer weather, why not celebrate by planting a tree this year?  Pre-order your tree online or visit one of the upcoming tree sales.  The fantastic team of experts at ReForest London will help pair you with the perfect tree to make your property green and beautiful!

All words and images produced by event reporter Julie Kiser

staff and volunteers