All that remains is a lone poppy atop a small fir tree that is quite like no other tree (that used to be) located along Mission Creek.
One poppy that represents years of caring by an individual whom at this point remains unknown but who created a tradition that touched many people who walked past the tree.
The tree naturally grew on a dike near the Mission Greenway and as crews began to work to move the dike (Mission Creek Restoration set to complete first phase of creek widending) it was hard for them not to notice it.
“We noticed the tree when we were doing field work and in August it was just beautifully decorated with a back-to-school theme with ornaments that had sayings on them,” said engineer Don Dobson. “We thought it was pretty cool and then we came back later and it had been re-decorated for Thanskgiving. We just said ‘we need to save this tree. There is a history here.'”
Dobson contacted the City of Kelowna parks crew who found a spot for it. Once it became necessary crews scooped it up, root-ball and all, and re-planted along the fence-line of the the city dog park located near the Mission Sports slo-pitch fields.
It didn’t take long for folks using the dog park to notice it.
“There was a lady that used to decorate it and she did it for any and all occasions,” said dog-walker Derek Hodson. “A group of us were talking about it the other day. It seems a little scruffier here. I hope the lady knows it’s here.”
The tree is estimated to be about 10 years old and likely grew on its own from seed, said Dobson, who said his crews were careful in the relocation.
“They protected it as they were doing the construction right up until we we finally had to move it,” he said. “When you think about Remembrance Day it’s kind of poignant that it’s just one poppy because it stands out on that tree. We were very careful the poppy was still there when we planted it.”
For Hodson, the tree conjures up many memories and represents what’s good in people.
“I was surprised to see it here, I just thought they would probably knock it down,” he said. “But they must have thought it was something special. It’s nice someone is actually thinking about that. A lot of people saw it along the trail. I saw a lot of kids and families looking at it. No one ever removed any of the decorations. They were all left which is saying something isn’t it?”