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GRCA Celebrate Canada 150 on Earth Day

Web posted on April 18, 2017

The Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA) will kick off its Canada 150 celebration on Earth Day - Saturday, April 22 - at the Guelph Rotary Forest, where a maple grove shaped like a maple leaf will be planted in honour of the 150th anniversary of Confederation.

The celebration will continue for 150 days, and will include various activities, promotion of GRCA programs and initiatives throughout the watershed, as well as a number of events at Grand River Parks and nature centres. The GRCA will share information through its Twitter and Facebook accounts, as well as its website and publications.

The Grand River watershed is rich in Canadian history. In 1994, the Grand River was designated a Canadian Heritage River for its cultural history and outstanding recreational opportunities. Aspects of the Canadian Heritage River will be highlighted, as well as ways to learn about and enjoy nature in the watershed.

Earth Day 2017 Guelph Rotary Forest
Each spring, the GRCA and its partners plant trees across the watershed. The Guelph Rotary Forest is located at Guelph Lake Park and this year is its 10th anniversary. It is a joint venture with the Guelph Rotary Club and other partners. About 4,000 trees will be planted there on Earth Day, including the maple grove.

This event takes place 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and features a festive atmosphere with family activities such as live music, a birds of prey demonstration and a visit from the BIObus (a mobile research unit from the University of Guelph).

Hop on a shuttle bus from downtown Guelph or park at nearby Lakeside Church on Conservation Road, where a free shuttle will take you to the planting site. Full details of this event are available at

About the Canada 150 maple grove

  • The Canada 150 maple grove will be planted in the shape of a giant sugar maple leaf; the same species that is on the Canadian flag.
  • As it grows, it will be visible from the air and on satellite images.
  • The maple leaf will stretch 60 metres across at the widest point, and 50 metres from base to tip.
  • It will be made up of 50 per cent sugar maple (Acer saccharum), 25 per cent red maple (Acer rubrum), 15 per cent silver maple (Acer saccharinum) and 10 per cent black maple (Acer nigrum).
  • The outline of the maple leaf will be formed by 600 white cedar (Thuja occidentalis) seedlings which, as evergreens, will highlight the shape throughout the seasons.
  • The interior of the maple leaf will be formed by 150 native maple saplings including one large ceremonial maple at the centre of the leaf.
  • The sugar maple is Canada's symbol and reflects peoples' connection to this land.
  • The grove will be part of a future trail system that the community will be able to enjoy for the next 150 years or more.
  • The grove will be planted as part of the Guelph Lake Rotary Forest planting on April 22, 2017 (9 a.m. to 2 p.m.) rain, shine or snow.