New Tree of Good Fortune carries on tradition of former Burlington Mayor Roly Bird

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Published October 15, 2021 at 11:48 am

A long-time tradition of former Burlington Mayor Roly Bird has been renewed at city hall.

During Bird’s term as mayor, from 1978-1991, he used to gather horse chestnuts from a specific tree, dubbed The Tree of Good Fortune, and present them to various city residents, visitors and political dignitaries.

And the presentation would always come with a little speech.

“This is the fruit of The Tree of Good Fortune. If you accept this fruit and believe, have faith and work very hard in life, you will achieve all of the goals and objectives you set for yourself, and everything that you aspire to will come to pass. You must, however, continue to hold on to the fruit of The Tree of Good Fortune, to have belief, great faith, and especially work hard, and the fruit of The Tree of Good Fortune will greatly assist you as you move through this life.”

The original tree was planted from a horse chestnut tree seedling from Burlington resident Dr. Wilbur Weaver.

That tree, however, had to be removed a couple of years ago for public safety, after suffering rot and damage following a 2018 windstorm.

A new horse chestnut tree has been planted in the same spot at Brant and Ontario streets and is marked by the original plaque dedicated it to Bird.

“The original tree was planted as a sign of friendship and good fortune,” said current Mayor Marianne Meed Ward.

“In 2019, I took up the late former Burlington Mayor Roly Bird’s tradition of gifting a horse chestnut from the tree during the official Burlington delegation trip to Itabashi, Japan, in commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the twinning of our cities.

“I gifted a chestnut souvenir from the original tree, and crafted by a Burlington resident, to Mayor Takeshi Sakamoto. It is great to see this symbol and great piece of Burlington history replanted and the legacy of friendship and good fortune continue in our city.”

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