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.
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?
What interesting or unusual icons are in your neighbourhood?
Stay tuned for more…