York Street sculpture depicts tree of life

York Street has a new tree sculpture. When a boulevard tree had to be removed last year, Reverend Maureen MacLeod-Oliver and Richard Oliver stepped up with a proposal.

The eight-foot sculpture, created out of a rescued ash tree, sits outside 22 York Street, known as the manse. Given the history of the home, it’s only fitting that the sculpture incorporates a book, a dove of peace and the tree of life on it.

Residents of Orangeville for three years, the couple fell in love with the community. “We love walking about our historic downtown and admiring the historic streets,” Reverend MacLeod-Oliver says. “Orangeville's history is a very important part of its life today. The tree sculpture tour is one of the many tourist attractions that Orangeville has to offer. So, when we learned that the Town was going to fell our tree, we immediately thought of sponsoring a tree sculpture as a way of giving back something special to our community.”

Why a Tree of Life? Well, history repeats itself. It seems that this property is destined to have repeated connections to the church. This sculpture, the Tree of Life, honours the Reverend MacKay who at one time owned this and adjoining properties. The house was built by Reverend MacKay's son, and for a time was the manse for what is now Westminster United Church. This sculpture stands to honour the seven Ministers who have lived in this house since, including its present Minister, Reverend MacLeod-Oliver.

Carved by artists Jim and Cam Menken of Mono, the most challenging aspect of this particular sculpture was trying to represent a tree in a narrow tree trunk. Jim Menken has had a life-long interest in art and started carving trees in 2003. A former teacher, Mr. Menken has made carving his full-time passion and career for the past 13 years. His son Cam is in his third year of carving full-time.

Orangeville’s Art Walk of Tree Sculpture features the work of 19 different artists and more than 50 sculptures. The Tourism Development and Marketing Plan recognized the Art Walk of Tree Sculptures as a tourism demand generator for the community.

For more information on Orangeville’s Art Walk of Tree Sculptures please call 519-941-0440 Ext. 2253 or email [email protected].