It was a time to reflect, remember, and to honour lives with new life.

On Sunday, May 7, families gathered at the McAlpine Forever Forest near Vankleek Hill to plant trees in memory of loved ones. The program is presented by Hillcrest Funeral Home in Vankleek Hill. Originally, trees were planted in Algonquin Provincial Park in memory of individuals, but Hillcrest owners Mark and Lisa Henderson decided to create an opportunity closer to home for local residents to remember special people in their lives with a tree.

“The cycle of a tree’s life speaks to their resilient nature,” Lisa Henderson said.

Families from all over the region arrived with shovels to help with planting. The area is a grassy meadow beside a more mature forest now, but in a few years, it will be transformed into a diverse woodland. On May 7, 200 silver maples and hickory butternuts were planted.

The McAlpine Forever Forest is part of the Eastern Ontario Land Trust and it is to be preserved forever in a completely natural state.

Planting memorial trees at McAlpine Forever Forest. Photos: James Morgan