Stanley Park's iconic hollow tree - for over a century, a popular photo backdrop for countless visitors, their horses and even their cars - is leaning dangerously and may fall over.
This enormous Western Red Cedar is estimated to date back to the 11th century making it approximately 1,000 years old and currently measures about 45 feet around and over 131 feet tall. It has been a popular spot for tourists and locals alike ever since Stanley Park opened in 1888. When automobiles arrived in Vancouver, many cars like the old Stanley Steamers and Ford Model Ts backed into the tree for the traditional photo op.
Unfortunately, the tree has some rot and the storms that ravaged our fair city last winter has caused it to lean. Even the network of iron rods and metal straps that had been installed to keep the stump together couldn't keep the ground from destabilizing. So, the tree's days may be numbered. Currently, there are barricades around the tree to protect tourists in case the tree falls and the tree is also wrapped with steel cables and tied to a nearby hemlock.
Every time I drive through the park, I notice the tree but have yet to have my photo taken in it. I guess I won't have a chance now that the barricades are there. But it's still worth driving by to take a look, so those of you who plan to visit Vancouver in the near future absolutely MUST go down to the park to see it. It will be a huge heartache for all Vancouverites, especially those of us who were born here, when this mammoth tree dies.