The fourth annual City Of Mississauga Winter Tree Wraps Project will have a different look to it this year because it will take place in two locations.
The median along Hurontario and Burnhamthorpe will feature some of the 52 Pyramidal English Oak trees, but others have been moved a few kilometres west to the median at Burnhamthorpe and Promontory near the Credit River.
With the City of Mississauga slated to undergo a major redevelopment along Hurontario for the Light Rail Transit scheduled to be built, possibly beginning as early as 2018, the Winter Tree Wraps Project will eventually have to be shifted entirely.
Mark Warrack, City Of Mississauga Manager Culture & Heritage Planning, Culture Division, told Peel Region Review that the project began as a way to add some art to the trees, which are wrapped in burlap in the winter to protect against the elements.
“We began that program working with our Parks & Forestry staff to ensure that whatever would be put on the trees would be safe and environmentally friendly for the trees as well,” Warrack said.
Every year there is a new theme and this year’s is Future Directions, which Warrack said could be interpreted in various ways such as city building, transit and climate change.
Last year’s theme celebrated Canada 150.
The City is currently accepting proposals from professional Canadian artists (either individuals or a group) to design the trees. The deadline is September 5 and it is not restricted to Mississauga artists. A jury decides the most appropriate proposal. The budget is $25,000 to cover all of the costs involved in the proposal, including the design, materials and installation.
While there have always been 52 trees along the median, the original intent for the temporary project was left up to the discretion of the artist to cover all or some of them. The first year saw 20 trees covered, closer to the intersection of Hurontario and Burnhamthorpe.
“Each year has varied on how many trees were covered, but never before have all 52 been done,” Warrack said. “However for this year we have asked they take into consideration all of the trees. I think it was done partially because they are now broken up into two areas. Some of those trees were moved last year in order to test how they would do in a new environment because all of those trees will be moved for the new Light Rail Transit. It’s difficult moving a full mature tree, but they have taken well. Because it is split up into two areas, we felt it would be interesting to try and do them all.
“Public art can be either permanent or temporary. This falls under the temporary category, which I personally enjoy because each year you get something different, something to look forward to.”
Warrack said the feedback from the community about the tree decorations has been mixed.
“People write in and some are very positive and some aren’t, but that’s what public art does – it has a different appeal to everybody,” Warrack said. “Some people are very much in favour of it and some don’t. But part of the reason for public art is to encourage discussion and it could be positive or negative. But generally we get a lot of positive feedback because it brings a lot of colour interest and sort of a sense of place that wasn’t there before. That was why the program was started and to foster a sense of community pride.”