The Toronto Rotary Club will be erecting a 40 foot evergreen at Dundas Square for the next three weeks to remember friends and family.
It is the third year that the Rotary Club has put up the massive tree named the “Tree of Remembrance.” By donating to the tree, people can add the name of a friend or family member they want to remember.
Each year, the tree has increased in size. Since last year, the tree has almost doubled in size. In 2022, the tree was 25 feet, with it now being 40 feet.
“We wanted to have a bigger impact. Our partner, Younge and Dundas Square was also quite open for us. It’s kind of the centre of our city, the heart beat. It’s a big square so why not fill it up with a 40 foot tree if we can when,” says Anny-Sandra Hamel, current president of the Rotary Club Toronto branch.
The Rotary Club is an international non-profit organization that started in Chicago in 1905. The Toronto branch is one of the oldest in Canada and the world having gotten its start in 1912. The Rotary Club helps organize “community service projects” for social issues.
Last year, the Rotary Club earned $20,000 from the Tree of Remembrance. Hamel says that she is hoping that with this year’s effort they can earn double the amount from last year.
“In the downtown core of Toronto, we give back year after year, close to a million dollars,” says Hamel. “We focus on some specific populations, such as indigenous, veteran veterans, seniors, women, children, but also some, you know, something like the environment, and mental health.”
The tree is put up to raise money for various charities including the Daily Bread Food Bank and Sherbourne Health. To help with the fundraising this year Hamel says that they will be working with the other Rotary Clubs in Toronto but also a few of the organizations they have helped fund in the past.
The tree will be up from Dec. 8-Dec 29. In this time a winter fair at Dundas Square that Hamel says she is hoping will bring more attention to their fundraising.
“We’re hoping that (Winter Glow) is really going to bring families and people to Yonge and Dundas where they can have a good time. As well, take the time to remember a loved one,” says Hamel.
Listen to the story below: