Aborists work to keep Canada's oldest maple's legacy alive

The Comfort Maple in Pelham is believed to be more than 500-years-old. In order to preserve its...

The Comfort Maple in Pelham is believed to be more than 500-years-old. In order to preserve its heritage, seeds from the sugar maple have been used to make 200 saplings. (Dan Dakin/QMI Agency)

Dan Dakin, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:44 PM ET

WELLAND, Ont. — Canada's oldest sugar maple — believed to be more than 500 years old — is starting to show its age, but Niagara-area arborists are making sure its good genes live on for generations to come.

Like an elderly relative, maintenance staff visit the so-called Comfort Maple once a week.

Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA) staff clean up the leaves and branches around the tree in Pelham, Ont., now in a parkette that was once a homestead owned by the Comfort family, early settlers in the area.

"When I go there, I'm still impressed with it's grandeur," Pelham Mayor Dave Augustyn says. "But I think it is declining."

NPCA spokesman Michael Reles doesn't know why or how this particular tree has survived as long as it has. Having been surrounded by farmland for much of its life might be part of it, but good genes also can't be ruled out.


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