Legislature Christmas Tree shares its boughs

Finding the perfect Christmas tree takes time and care. Each branch must be in its place; the base straight; and the top needs a branch perfect for displaying a star. It’s hard enough finding the right tree for your living room – but imagine having to choose a tree that’s 50-60 feet tall to display in front of the Legislature grounds!

tree and leg

That’s what Gary Smith and the team at the Edson Wildfire Management Area’s warehouse did this year and have done every year for the last decade.

2014 Leg Xmas Tree

This year’s tree was chosen, cut, packaged, shipped and delivered the last week of November – and each year, getting it to Edmonton is a little bit of a Christmas miracle.

Dropping the tree after cutting would result in one very flat side, so instead the tree is hooked to a picker truck about halfway to the top. The cut is made and the tree is carefully loaded onto a semi-trailer. The branches are then tucked and tied down carefully for the long drive to the capital city. Once the tree is safely delivered, a crane lifts it into place, and the decorating begins.

Loading the 2014 Leg Xmas tree

Even after all this, the Edson team’s work isn’t over – the search for next year’s tree has already begun. “Every year we go out and I spend quite a bit of personal time looking for them,” Smith says. “If I’m out and about, I’m on the lookout! It starts now.”

This year’s tree will be enjoyed by thousands of visitors to the Legislature grounds over the holiday season. This is not the end of the journey for this tree. After the ornaments are removed, the branches and body will be cut into flanks and sent to a sawmill.

That won’t be for a while, though – the tree will continue to light up the Legislature grounds throughout January. Check it out if you happen to visit this holiday season! And to all of you, from all of us – have a very merry Christmas.

Bertie at the wheel

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