LEAF (Local Enhancement and Appreciation of Forests) held its annual celebration on Friday with a party that brought nature indoors at the Artscape Wychwood Barns at Christie and St. Clair. Adorned with potted trees native to various cross-Canada locales, the spare space was lit by second-hand lamps from Goodwill, an intriguing juxtaposition of the quiet beauty of trees with the kitschy appeal of mismatched goods being diverted from landfill.
Local celebrities embraced the event by contributing their choices for favourite urban tree--filmmaker Atom Egoyan says of his choice: " I walk by this tree every day and I love how it's set against the street with the CN Tower in the middle." Adrienne Clarkson and author Vincent Lam also contributed their favourites with photographer Vincenzo Pietropaolo capturing the images which sold for $750 each to support LEAF, a nonprofit dedicated to preserving and improving the urban forest through planting, training and education. If you don't already know, trees have countless benefits for cities including improved air quality, reduced air temperatures, less noise pollution, and higher property values. Deciduous trees planted on the south and west sides of a house can reduce air conditioning use by up to 40 per cent!
What can't be captured in numbers is the feeling trees give of warmth, peace and stillness. I feel it whenever I go for a walk in the forest and I felt that sense of calm whilst surrounded by the trees inside Artscape. Acoustic sounds by bands Forest City Lovers and The Wilderness of Manitoba enhanced the peaceful mood, and Urban Tree Salvage, which creates functional art pieces exclusively from salvaged wood, provided raffle prizes such as candle holders and platters.
Saving me from a fashion-free post, LEAF's marketing manager Robin Sutherland wore a standout piece by eco-friendly designer Thieves, a one-shoulder dress with leaf-like epaulet, perfectly suited to the occasion in its stunning ethereal simplicity.