form ever follows function

The Comfort Maple tree is an individual sugar maple (acer saccharum) located in Comfort Maple Conservation Area in the Town of Pelham, Ontario. The tree is estimated to be about 500 years old, making it the oldest known sugar maple in Canada. Patched with masonry and held up with wires now, the tree started life as a sapling in an age before European explorers like Samuel de Champlain came to Niagara. Its bark form is complex and primal suggesting to the visitor some ancient and unknowable story. To indigenous peoples of the region the sugar maple was an essential commodity with a number of uses. Researcher Haley Moody of Wilfred Laurier University observes that the three types of maple sugars produced were in grain, cake, and wax forms. More than just a food, “Indigenous peoples would drink sap, sugar or syrup as a remedy for numerous body ailments, including croup, heart and digestive problems, among others.” Maybe in its youth this tree was part of a sustainable sugar maple forest managed by local peoples. Can the tree live much longer? We’re not sure but these images will help preserve its memory.

The quote is by Louis Sullivan

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