The Red Oak of Coral Gable Drive

A symbol worthy of a monument


To everything, turn, turn, turn…

This one is about more than branches, leaves, bark and a trunk. This is about the roots beneath. This is about a monument that has stood the test of time through every season.

It stands majestic. Estimated at 250 to 350 years old, its base is an impressive 15 feet plus, its reach is indescribable. It is the red oak of Coral Gable Drive, estimated to be the oldest red oak in the City of Toronto.

And she needs a hero. Or at least a plan.

While the tree is in good hands, and protected by law as it is listed as a “heritage tree,it has become a subject of discussion at the city and Emery Village’s Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti wants to see his city step in. The passionate Ward 7 Councillor is pushing for the land and home upon it to be purchased from the owner, torn down, and the remaining lot turned into a parkette and subsequent tourist attraction.

The idea has attracted some support on council and become a hot topic. Mammoliti is an advocate for the tree as a symbol of the city’s and country’s history. In three centuries it has witnessed the growth and fall of nations, the movements of first nations people, the arrival of Europeans, the industrial age and the growth of the city it calls home. It is already an attraction and if properly preserved and protected, Mammoliti believes it can be a symbol and benefit to the city for years to come.

“This tree has been a topic of conversation over the year in the community, but now more so lately because the house went up for sale,” Mammoliti said. Thinking outside the box, Mammoliti is also reaching out to more than just the council asking his colleagues at the city to support the establishment of a fund that could accept private donors and support. The Emery Village Business Improvement Association has pledged to cover maintenance costs for the parkette should it get built.

“I took (support for the tree) as a possible mandate, and now have recognized the mandate after the public meeting on Nov. 23. It told me the neighbours in and around the tree would like me to do that, as long as the lot is protected.”

Other factors would also need to be discussed. Mammoliti said if he can get his ultimate goal and see the city to support the purchase of the home and lot for the parkette, neighbours would want input on how many hours a day it was open and when. But he believes there is a strong case for the establishment of the attraction.

“That’s the project I’m going to take to council, to ask the executive committee to accept my idea of opening up a fund people can donate to that will help maintain the tree and eventually buy the lot to open a parkette without any cost to the taxpayer.”

The tree recently had a visitation by Toronto Mayor John Tory, but some on council remain reluctant to see the city purchase the property, proposing some maintenance support for the property owner.

What do you think about the red oak on Coral Gable Drive? Do you think it should be protected? The Emery Village Voice would like to hear from you at ( ).

Write or email CouncillorMammoliti at (councillor_mammoliti or mailing address: 2930 Islington Ave, Unit 3A Toronto, ON M9L-2K5.