Canadian Adventure: If the Shoe Fits

Interesting finds that cause you to do a double take are a part of travel and add some adventure to the ordinary. Things like this make travel interesting and a part of great memories of a trip or a place. In China I write about such occurrences and have not written so much about these here in Canada because many of my readers were friends and family from home. As my audience widens and I am in Canada for the summer I thought I should write a little about home and what makes this country fun, interesting and adventurous.

Growing up I remember seeing the “Shoe Tree”. It was a tall tree , a maple I believe, covered in a variety of worn out and colourful shoes. One became full and then a neighbouring tree started to take the overflow. The tree was along Highway 20 just outside of Fonthill, Ontario just before Victoria Avenue in the small town of Vineland. So many questions arise Why? Who started this? What does it mean? Regardless of the questions and curiosity it was something, as  young children, that made us giggle. I went to snap a photo of this shoe tree for this post, but it is gone. We drove back and forth along the area and looked carefully in case the green foliage camouflaged the silly icon, but we could not see the unusual monument to old shoes.  Searching the internet I just discovered the tree has been removed. What a disappointment since a childhood memory was lost. Reading the short details on the website about shoe trees it seems the original tree fell and was left beside the others, as it expanded onto 4 trees. I remember 1 tree and then in recent years 2 trees. It only says now that the 4 trees were removed, but no reasons given for their removal. Last year some high and unusual wind storms ripped through the area and this may have resulted in the demise of the trees. The tress were located in a wooded, uninhabited section of land along side a secondary highway, so I can’t image why else they would be cut down since all other trees in the area are still present, however shoeless.

Photo Credit: WM10ET_LEGACY_Shoe_Trees_Highway_20_Fenwick_ON

Searching on the internet I discovered there are more around Ontario. The reasoning for making these trees is unknown, but you can post comments and pictures on this website just for shoe trees. How bizarre… who knew this was some phenomenon! There is another tree we knew of in Welland, Ontario. It is a much smaller tree in height and girth. Shoes here are placed in matching pairs and some hang by their laces over the branches. Along the side of the road were numerous pairs of shoes that looked like they have been tossed from passing cars. The tree is located in an unihabiatated section of rarely used road. Again questions arise who provides the upkeep of this tree and adds the newest acquirements?

Shoe Tree – Welland, ON

What interesting or unusual icons are in your neighbourhood?

Stay tuned for more…

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27 thoughts on “Canadian Adventure: If the Shoe Fits

  1. That is very unusual! I have never seen anything like it. Keep the Canadian posts coming!

    • Thanks. I need to have a whole new mindset and be a tourist in my town 😉
      Thanks for stopping by.

      • I’ve started blogging more about Minneapolis, my home town too as I realized there are so many wonderful hidden treasures here and many people don’t know much about MN except for the silly movie FARGO. It is fun playing tourist in your own town and pushes me to get out more and explore all the options. There are endless things I could write about here yet I don’t get to explore them all since the kids aren’t always thrilled about all my picture taking. 🙂

  2. Freda Goulet

    Diana, I’m not sure if there is any truth in this, but I once noticed several shoes hanging from a hydro pole in the Owen Sound area and when I mentioned this to others I was told it was an indication of the availability of drugs in that area! Surely not!

  3. It does make you wonder…Love to hear more about Canada!

  4. cocoaupnorth

    Shoe tree, that’s the first I’ve heard of:-)

  5. There’s also a show tree in Niagara-On-The-Lake, but I dont remember the street. I’ve passed it several or billions of times!! Awesome fun post!

  6. You know you’re from Ontario when you know what a shoe tree is! LOL!

    • Yes what is it about Ontario that makes shoe trees? Why has no one else jumbed on this band-wagon? Uh oh maybe I’ve let our uniqueness out of the bag and it will become a world phenomenon… LOL.

  7. peters154

    You probably already saw it , but There’s an article about this in Wikipedia under “Shoe Tossing”!!

    • No I haven’t and never thought to look at Wikipedia! I did a google search and that didn’t come up. I will have to check it out. Thanks so much for the info and stopping by.

  8. This is the first shoe tree for me. A very creative, fascinating tree!

    • Since doing this post I have learned they are more wide spread than I thought. Some are even in other parts of the world! Thanks for visiting.

  9. I asked my sister and she told me the shoe tree in NOTL is on Concession 1.

    • OK great. We’ll hopefully have time to see it… leaving for Cuba tomorrow and back in 2 weeks! YEA!
      Thanks so much for finding out for me.

  10. carole collins

    i have drove by the shoe trebd luck…ve ball haw..they seem to a feout aas just reading ae in welland just today..there are at least seven ..once a tree is filled to the hieght of a person a new one is started.some one has said one started in a town when someone gradutes school the nail up there shoes..

    • I have found a few meanings of WHY and some are fun, unexplained or have hidden meanings about illegal activities… I just remember thinking they were funny when I was a kid, and in a way still think they are!
      Did you say you were in Welland?

  11. carole collins

    sorry dont know why my writing looks like that it did not when i wrote it

  12. Pingback: Comfort Maple: Tourist in My Own Town | Canadiantravelbugs's Blog

  13. Hey they are starting a new SHOE tree along Highway 20 after the old ones had to be cut down!

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