Windsor

Ontario spends half million dollars on pear trees

More than 20 unemployed people will be trained to grow 4,000 Jesuit pear trees in Windsor.

Project will employ people out of work, including 23 in the Windsor area

A Jesuit pear tree at the intersection of Askin Avenue and Riverside Drive in Windsor, Ont. (CBC News)

More than 20 unemployed people could soon be trained to grow Jesuit pear trees in Windsor.

It's part of a project between the city and province to create hands on work experience for long-term employment.

The 52-week program costs more than $500,000 with the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities providing most of the money. Locally, 23 people could take part.

City staff won approval from city council Monday to apply for a grant to bring the project to Windsor.

John Miceli is the city's executive director of parks and facilities.

"They will be trained to learn skills of, basically, how to germinate and produce Jesuit pear trees," Miceli said. "It's exciting to bring 4,000 seedlings online."

Only a few Jesuit pear trees remain in the local area.

If approved, the project will help replace forest cover lost to the emerald ash borer and increase the diversity of trees.

According to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Jesuit missionaries came to Essex County in 1749 and planted pear seedlings along the banks of Lake Erie, likely as landmarks for new settlers.

Less than 40 remain in Essex County.

The best living specimen is located on a private farm near Harrow, Ont., just south of Windsor, and is estimated to be 300 years old.

Corrections

  • The city has not won approval for paricipation in the Jesuit pear tree project as previously reported. Staff has only won council's approval to apply to take part. A decision is pending.
    Apr 12, 2012 2:55 PM ET