WINNIPEG – One of Winnipeg’s beloved old elms has been cut down after it was infected with Dutch elm disease.
“Grandma elm” was removed from Assiniboine Park on Tuesday to keep the insect-borne disease from spreading to other elms in the park.
“It means a significant loss of history to the park in particular and this city as a whole,” said Dave Lutes, an arborist who chopped the tree down.
The tree, near Assiniboine Park’s duck pond, has been a popular spot for shade for generations.
“I probably have 50 million pictures of it,” said Brittany Restall, who stopped by the site Tuesday. “I felt it was important to take one more.”
Grandma elm was believed to be a meeting place for a young couple in the 1800s.
John Lewis has his own memories of the tree. It was where he watched his grandchildren grow up.
“They would come over and play right here from when they were young,” said Lewis.
Ruth Erb, who is now 50 years old, remembers going to the park as a kid and seeing the tree with her parents.
“It is like all my childhood memories are all gone,” said Erb.
Dutch elm disease is caused by a fungus carried by elm bark beetles. It essentially cuts off a tree’s circulation system, eventually killing it.
Global Winnipeg documented the loss of the tree in photos Monday and Tuesday: