September 21, 2009 - The Calgary Sun reported
today that laughter and tears flowed simultaneously yesterday as thousands of
Calgarians reflected upon the lives of lost loved ones at the southeast edge of
Fish Creek Park.
Up to 10,000 people gathered at the Lafarge
Meadows wetlands, south of Hwy. 22X, and chose one of 2,220 recently planted
trees to commemorate the lives of late family members and friends.
"To me, it's very special that we can come
here and know this tree had been planted in his name," said Jean Field,
whose husband Alfred died in February. The Memorial Forest
dedication, hosted by McInnis and Holloway Funeral Homes, also contributes to
the Lafarge Meadows wetland conservation project, by adding native trees, including
spruce, poplar and shrubs to the land.
"It's a great idea," said Jennifer
MacRae who, along with several family members, gathered to celebrate the lives
of her late grandparents and cousin. "It's good for the environment and
it's meaningful to know their spirits can go on through a tree. It marks their
life and is something that will hopefully never die."
The area was once a gravel pit until Lafarge
Canada Inc. arranged for the land to be purchased by the province in 2001 under
the agreement it would be use for environmental enhancement.
The area adds 147 acres to Fish Creek park's
existing 3,320 acres. Since the Memorial Tree program began in 1996, McInnis
and Holloway has planted more than 29,000 trees in Calgary,
including 24,000 in Fish