Manitoba Lt.-Gov. Janice Filmon started a new tradition on Thursday, the province's 146th birthday, by planting a unique Manitoba red maple tree — the first of its kind — outside Government House in Winnipeg.

The new tree variety, named Regal Celebration, was crossbred by Jeffries Nurseries in Portage la Prairie, Man., over two decades, combining the hardiness of western maple trees with the bright red fall foliage of maples in eastern Canada.

Filmon said planting Regal Celebration trees will be a new and sustainable way of recognizing Order of Manitoba recipients and other outstanding people in the province.

"When I think about Manitoba, it's big," she said.

"It's about the people I've met, the places I've gone, the differences that have been made by any number of organizations. and it's about a big heart along with a big sky."

The planting coincides with Manitoba Day, also known as the province's birthday. On May 12, 1870, the Manitoba Act received royal assent from Parliament, making Manitoba the fifth province to join confederation.

Trees will also be planted to mark visits from dignitaries and other special events.

Filmon said her office will work with Winnipeg and Manitoba forestry departments to find other places throughout the province for future plantings.