The vine maple tree is one of ten maples that grow in B.C. Photo Black Press

The vine maple tree is one of ten maples that grow in B.C. Photo Black Press

Column: B.C. just doesn’t have proper maple trees

Did you know there are four treeless countries in the world?

I miss maple trees, especially in the fall.

Sure, B.C. has some maples, seven species actually. But there aren’t very many, and the ones we do have get a bit lost in all the coniferousness going on. Pine, spruce, fir, cedar, hemlock blah blah…about 64 per cent of our province is forested.

B.C. has the largest forestry industry in the country, directly employing 50,000 workers and we are all very happy about that.

Fun tree fact: Canada has the second most trees in the world – approximately 318 billion or 8,368 trees per person.

Only Russia has more trees, almost twice our number, despite the fact that in many areas of that nation trees are illegal. (And you thought B.C.’s Agricultural Land Reserve regulations were harsh.)

According to the World Bank definition, there are four countries that have no trees at all – San Marino, Qatar, Oman and Greenland. The latter is super strange, like Greenland is misrepresenting itself.

And that bring us back to the colour of trees and why I miss the maple so much.

The maple trees that grow here, including broadleaf, Manitoba, and Douglas maples, just don’t change hues the way they do in the east.

Their leaves turn yellow, or a pale orange and even a dirty red. Throw in all that green and the visual impact is slightly bilious.

Sugar Maples, those are the trees that burst crimson and dazzle the senses. The leaf of the Sugar Maple is a national icon, and has graced the Canada flag since 1965.

Growing up in Paris, Ont., there was a Sugar Maple in the backyard and two chestnut trees, which are also very rare in this neck of the woods. My dad was raised on a sugar bush in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, and every spring we’d honour some of that past by tapping our maple and making syrup.

It takes 40 litres of sap to make one litre of syrup and the process is time consuming and can be messy.

To that point kids, if your parents tell you to not drink voluminous amounts of sap out of the bucket before you go to school, just trust that as really good advice.

The DeMeers raised their own children in a neighbouring town on Maple Avenue. It was called Maple Avenue because of the proliferation of maples. It wasn’t like one of those subdivisions that gets built and the city names all the streets after pretentious trees. Dogwood Crescent. Magnolia Lane. Lilac Lane.

We tapped our maple tree there as well.

Fall was the best season in Ontario, with the all the trees bright and beautiful and dropping leaves, raking and kicking them down the street, and jumping in piles.

Even the smell. Yeah, the scent of rotting maple leaves, under the right circumstances, is practically an aphrodisiac.

B.C. forests are second to none, even if I don’t understand how Christmas trees and cords of fire wood can be so expensive here.

But I do miss my maples.

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