Today we're launching Legacy of Trees: Purposeful Wandering in Vancouver's Stanley Park, by Nina Shoroplova, which Wayne Grady calls "a fascinating answer to why we should care about trees in the first place."
The Elevator Pitch. Tell us about your book in a sentence:
Legacy of Trees: Purposeful Wandering in Vancouver’s Stanley Park tells the stories of the trees of Stanley Park through the eyes of an amateur botanist and researcher who has much to learn and appreciate.
Describe your ideal reader.
A Vancouverite or a British Columbian who loves our world-class park and wants to learn more about it, especially how the stories of its trees also tell the story of Vancouver.
What books is your work in conversation with?
Gerald B. Straley’s Trees of Vancouver. Alison Parkinson’s Wilderness on the Doorstep. Peter Wohlleben’s The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate—Discoveries from a Secret World.
What is something interesting you learned during the process of creating and publishing your book?
I set myself the mission of getting to know Stanley Park well enough to be able to confidently call to call it “my park.” To do this, I realized I would have to wander it purposefully, path by path, plaque by plaque, monument by monument, tree by tree, blossom by flowering blossom, through every season, to allow its layers of history to seep into me. Although my book is now finished and out in the world my fascination with learning about this park and its trees has not ceased. The constantly changing arboreal scene in the park draws me in again and again. And I come home to myself refreshed and renewed.
Why did the stories of the trees of Stanley Park so fascinate you?
Because each one is unique, beautiful in its own way, growing without questioning anything, supporting and communicating with its neighbours, and at the same time, telling Vancouver’s story by its presence.
Who would like to thank for being part of your process?
Major James Skitt Matthews, the City of Vancouver’s first archivist, who died in 1970. Douglas Justice, Adjunct Professor at the School of Architecture + Landscape Architecture, at the University of British Columbia. Bill Stephen, the Vancouver Park Board’s Superintendent of Urban Forestry, who authored the foreword to this book.
What are you reading right now or next?
Trees in Canada, by John Laird Farrar. Organized into twelve groups of trees and featuring many full-colour images, it’s a brilliant guide in not overly technical language to over three hundred tree species (both native and introduced) flourishing in Canada.
An engaging, informative, and visually stunning tour of the numerous native, introduced, and ornamental tree species found in Vancouver’s Stanley Park, combining a wealth of botanical knowledge with a fascinating social history of the city’s most celebrated landmark.
Measuring 405 hectares (1,001 acres) in the heart of downtown Vancouver, Stanley Park is home to more than 180,000 trees. Ranging from centuries-old Douglas firs to ornamental Japanese cherry trees, the trees of Stanley Park have come to symbolize the ancient roots and diverse nature of the city itself.
For years, Nina Shoroplova has wandered through Vancouver’s urban forest and marvelled at the multitude of tree species that flourish there. In Legacy of Trees, Shoroplova tours Stanley Park’s seawall and beaches, wetlands and trails, pathways and lawns in every season and every type of weather, revealing the history and botanical properties of each tree species.
Unlike many urban parks, which are entirely cultivated, the area now called Stanley Park was an ancient forest before Canada’s third-largest city grew around it. Tracing the park’s Indigenous roots through its colonial history to its present incarnation as the jewel of Vancouver, visited by eight million locals and tourists annually, Legacy of Trees is a beautiful tribute to the trees that shape Stanley Park’s evolving narrative.
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