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We celebrate Arbor Day on the third Friday of May these days. We use to celebrate it on the 24th of May - remember "the Queen's birthday, if we don't have a holiday, we'll all run away". Personally, if we didn't go swimming on that day in the North River we would feel we were chicken. I can't imagine it today even with global warming!
Tomorrow, I'm going to a meeting where I hope the city is going to hire a part time arborist. I can't tell you how long it has been that Charlottetownians have been worried about beautification. I'm telling you, it dates back to at least the 1840's! Read this...." I shall spare myself the trouble of writing you or troubling the public with a very long preamble, but merely bring to your notice the marked difference between North American Provinces and the Republican States in general, with regard to the adornment and beautifying of the public squares, in their cities and smaller towns, with trees and walks." and THAT 1850 letter goes on in a way that would make you cry.
Then in 1882 a St. John Telegraph correspondent wrote about us "...all the streets are laid off at right angles and of unusual width, but from the very width present a bare appearance owning to the absence of trees". Look up Queen Street today and you could say the same thing.
We began celebrating Arbor Day in 1884 - not that long after the idea was conceived in Nebraska in 1872. Our squares reflect the celebration of those early Arbor Days and so do many of our streets. It was all citizen driven --- the Warburtons, Harris', the Fitzgeralds, Newbery's, Rankins, MacDonalds, Haszards and all good people. who cared - and school kids for years and years.
We have been taking beautification of this city seriously for over 150 years. If tomorrow we take a giant step in moving the beautification to a stage of good planning we will see the results explode before our very eyes. We must address every block of this great historic city .... and make it MORE beautiful. FOR US. Then anyone who comes to visit - or wishes to do business in our community - will be proud participants.
Written Thursday, March 28, 2002 at 08:46 AM