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Commemorative Programs

A commemorative forest program promotes the sustainable planting of trees throughout the City’s parks and trails systems.

The City has offered a successful memorial tree program since 1992. Since that date, the City has planted 360 trees. Over the life of the program, some areas have been more popular than others, with Harrison Park and the Inner Harbour having received the most requests and having reached their planting capacity. Planting additional trees in these areas will cause over-crowding of the tree canopies and begin to detract from the overall design intention of those areas.

At its meeting on February 17, 2021, the Community Services Committee received Staff Report CS-21-010 and recommended changing the existing memorial tree program to a commemorative forest model. This model will promote sustainable and responsible tree planting, and provide for a more even distribution of new trees planted each year across the City's network of parks, trails and open space.

The Commemorative Forest Program launched on March 1, 2021.

The City will select suitable native tree species and planting locations annually throughout the parks and open space system including trails, focusing on sites with existing low density tree plantings or where augmented beautification and shade opportunities would benefit the property and/or neighbourhood.

The financial contribution to participate in the program is $374.40 plus HST (subject to change with Council approval) for the purchase and planting of an appropriate size tree for the location selected.

Once payment is received, the tree planting will be incorporated into the next available planting window (spring or fall planting, dependent on tree species). 

After the tree is planted, the City assumes responsibility and ownership of the tree.

Commemorative plaques may be installed by the City at a monument constructed for this purpose. A standard 15cm x 15cm plaque on a central monument acknowledging individual donors and simple commemorative messages is included in the program fee. Plaques are installed annually at a commemorative service. The first commemoration service's date has not yet been determined. 

The City of Owen Sound is not responsible for the maintenance or replacement of commemorative plaques.

For more information and to submit a request, please complete the Commemorative Forest Application Form.

A commemorative forest program has many benefits including:

  • Prevents over-crowding of trees in popular locations;
  • Promotes more even distribution of trees throughout the City’s parks and trails;
  • Permits staff to plan resources and optimize planting timing for each tree species;
  • Permits staff to select native tree species that are best suited to soil microclimate and light conditions specific to each location; and
  • Allows for a long term approach when selecting tree species considering the tree’s requirements over its entire lifecycle including typical crown diameter, height, and growing habit.

After the first year of planting under the commemorative forest program is complete, a commemorative forest GIS layer will be published here.

Photos of tree plantings under the commemorative forest program will be uploaded here when available.

A central monument acknowledging the contribution to the commemorative forest program will be constructed in Harrison Park. The location is in the area east of the fitness trail, north of the base of the toboggan hill. Each individual that contributes to the program will receive a standardized plaque on the monument that contains their name, date of contribution, and a simple commemorative message. The new program allows donors to have their contribution acknowledged 15cmx 15cm individualized plaque. A basic concept design to determine scale and location has been drafted inhouse. Using the concept as a starting point, a detailed design by a landscape architect was contemplated and included in the capital budget request. Detailed design can be completed over winter, with construction anticipated in Q2 2023.

An update was provided to the Community Services Committee in September 2022, Report CS-22-122 from the Manager of Parks and Open Space Re: Commemorative Forest Monument Location and Concept Design.

The City will endeavour to host an annual ceremony where participants will be invited to acknowledge their contribution, and share in a moment of fellowship and remembrance.

The City also has a Commemorative Bench Program.  Information on this program can be found on the City's Commemorative Bench Program Application Form.

If you have any questions about this program, please contact the Parks & Cemetery Administrative Coordinator at 519-376-3203.

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