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Vimy Oak unveiled at Brechin Public School Remembrance Day ceremony

Acorns from trees felled at Vimy Ridge birthed new hope for Canadian soldier whose legacy lives on
2018-11-11 Brechin Public School Vimy Oak
This 'Vimy Oak' was unveiled at Brechin Public School during their Remembrance Day ceremony Friday. Contributed photo


Brechin Public School is honoured to be the home of a new oak tree. However, it is not an ordinary tree.

Recently planted on the school’s property is a Vimy Oak. Named after its place of origin, the Vimy Oak is a descendant of the oak trees that once grew across Vimy Ridge.

Before the Battle of Vimy Ridge in April 1917, Canadian Lt. Leslie H. Miller of Scarborough wrote home describing the beautiful landscape that was covered by hundreds of English Oak Trees. However, after the historical four-day battle, not a single tree was left standing.

While walking through the utterly destroyed ridge, Lt. Miller picked up a handful of acorns and sent them home to his family. Little did he know the impact this simple act would have 100 years later.

When he returned home in 1919, Lt. Miller began rebuilding his life. Eventually settling down on his own farm, he replanted the trees that had grown from his acorns along his woodlot. He named his farm The Vimy Oaks.

For years, he welcomed visitors and shared his experiences. Today, Lt. Miller’s woodlot is the home of a Scarborough Chinese Baptist Church. However, the 10 original oaks stand tall along the property.

It was from these trees that a new hope was born. In 2014, the Vimy Oaks Legacy Corporation partnered with The Vimy Foundation to begin a monumental project. Using Lt. Miller’s remaining oak trees, they were able to grow hundreds of Vimy Oak saplings

In 2018 they replanted 100 Vimy Oak trees at Vimy Ridge, symbolizing 100 years of remembrance. The following year, they began distributing the remaining saplings across Canada to create commemorative sites in honour of those affected by the war.

On Nov. 9, Brechin Public School unveiled their Vimy Oak tree to their students, staff and community. After hearing the story of Lt. Miller and his Vimy Oak, students and their teachers were invited to take a moment to visit the Vimy Oak and reflect on the sacrifices made for our country.