Nova Scotia

Hundreds of trees snapped up in less than an hour at tree giveaway in Halifax

Five hundred trees were snapped up in about an hour in a tree giveaway Saturday morning in Halifax.

Several people wanted to replace trees lost during post-tropical storm Fiona

A large crowd showed up a tree giveaway in Halifax on Saturday. The 500 trees that were available to residents were gone in about an hour. (Paul Poirier/CBC)

Just a week after a massive storm blew through the region, residents snapped up 500 trees in about an hour at a tree giveaway Saturday morning in Halifax.

People began lining up two hours before the event started. The number of vehicles driving toward the event — billed as the first of its kind for the regional municipality — created traffic jams in parts of the city's north end.

Liesl Newman and her mother showed up early and were able to take home a tree.

"We lost quite a few trees with the storm, so I felt the need to come and get one and replenish it,"  Newman said. "We had a big one that went down so we just need to find the perfect spot and it'll be good."

Kate Lacusta was hopeful there would still be a tree available for her while she was waiting in line.

People showed up hours before the event began. (Paul Poirier/CBC)

She said she also lost a couple trees to Fiona.

"So, we'd kind of like to replace them and I'm kind of hoping to get a fruit tree and get some fruit off it eventually," Lacusta said. "I'm just excited to regenerate what we lost in the storm."

There were a variety of trees, including edible fruit trees, that were available to the public on a first-come, first-served basis. 

The turnout was better than HRM could have expected, said Crispin Wood with Halifax's urban forestry department.

He said the new event is a result of the city's goal to increase its tree population. Halifax said it has planted more than 3,000 trees this year in support of its urban forest plan.

A tree from the giveaway is placed strategically in a vehicle. (Paul Poirier/CBC)

"Given the hurricane we just had, we've just had we certainly lost a lot so we know we're going to have to do a lot of replacement and with this program by giving out trees," Wood said. "We've essentially mobilized the community to replant that canopy on our behalf."

There are many social and health benefits to planting trees in cities, he added.

Many of the trees given to residents came from Nova Scotia vendors, according to Wood.

He said at least one of the vendors is producing the trees from genetically local seed stock "so, these trees are well adapted to the Nova Scotia environment."

Another 500 trees will be given away next Saturday in Cherry Brook, N.S.

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