Thursday’s windstorm hit Vancouver Island hard, knocking out power to over 100,000 islanders, cancelling BC Ferries sailings, and toppling a much beloved Garry oak tree that could be found near Mt. Newton Cross Roads.
If you’ve been driving past the cross roads, or have made your way to the Prairie Inn Pub, you’ll probably have noticed the iconic tree’s striking silhouette on the horizon.
According to the BC government’s information web page on Garry oaks, the trees tend to grow in open parkland and meadows alongside spring flowers like camas, Easter lilies, western buttercups, and shooting stars.
The tree was named in the 19th century by botanist and explorer David Douglas for his colleague Nicholas Garry of the Hudson’s Bay Company, who helped him during his travels.
Once the winds had died down, the Longview Farm Facebook page posted a tribute to the tree that had sat on their property for years.
“You have greeted residents and visitors of our community for decades as they come up Mt. Newton Cross Roads You have kept our daffodils and hay crops company for many many years,” reads the post.
“Thank you for the beautiful morning sunrises, misty afternoons and moonlit nights. Your size and unique beauty through the seasons will be missed.”
“R.I.P. Saanichton Garry Oak ‘Thunderheart'”.
After spreading news of the historic tree’s fate, Victorians on social media started sharing their favourite memories and photos of the peninsula landmark.
Without further ado, here are 20 of our favourite.