From left - Rev. Sulin Milne, rector of St Peter’s, Karen Cummins and Bill Henderson of Nature Comox Valley pose for a photo with the newly-planted Garry oak tree. Photo supplied

From left - Rev. Sulin Milne, rector of St Peter’s, Karen Cummins and Bill Henderson of Nature Comox Valley pose for a photo with the newly-planted Garry oak tree. Photo supplied

Young Garry oak planted at St. Peter’s church gardens as a sign of resiliency

By Tony Reynolds

Special to The Record

St Peter’s Anglican Church, Comox, and Garry oaks have one thing in common – longevity. A Garry oak can live 300 years. St Peter’s on Church Street in Comox celebrates its 130th anniversary this year.

To mark this occasion, Bill Henderson and Karen Cummins, two members of Nature Comox Valley, a not-for-profit society dedicated to conserving these unique trees, planted a Garry oak in the church garden next to the giant stump of an ancient maple.

The six-year-old tree was a gift from Henderson, a retired architect and a member of the parish.

The similarity doesn’t end with longevity. The society’s motto is “to know nature and to keep nature worth knowing.” St Peter’s is “To know God the Father as revealed in His Son, Jesus Christ…and to make Him known..”

Pandemic restrictions permitting, St. Peter’s will host a “Home-Coming Celebration” on Sept. 12 to celebrate its 130th anniversary for the hundreds of families throughout the Valley whose lives have been touched at some point by this sanctuary in the heart of the town.

The Garry oak was an important part of food production for Indigenous nations on Vancouver Island.

Their root systems nurture a fungal network in humus soils conducive to growing Camas lilies and native rhizomes that were cultivated by the Komox First Nation in the ancient Garry oaks meadowlands across the Comox Valley.

The Camas lily bulbs, along with the acorns from the Garry oaks, were harvested as a vital food source for thousands of years by the Southern Coastal Salish First Nations.

Intentional burning was practised to control invasive species so Garry oak forests flourished. But early British settlers did not understand the inter-species relationships and over time the island lost 90 per cent of its Garry oaks.

Today, and for decades to come, a Garry oak will grow in the garden of St Peter’s, a tribute to the resilience of the church and a token of the reconciliation being sought between Indigenous and settler peoples of this island.


Just Posted

Comox Valley RCMP arrested a suspect in connection with a dumpster fire on the weekend. Black Press file photo
Comox Valley RCMP charge suspect with arson for weekend fire

Courtenay Fire Department has responded to multiple dumpster fires this year

NIC’s new president Lisa Domae assumed the role of president on April 12. Domae has worked at NIC since 2000, most recently as the executive vice president, academic and chief operating officer. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
New North Island College president launches draft strategic plan

Lisa Domae assumed the role of president on April 12, 2021

A siren bank near Stotan Falls. Photo supplied
BC Hydro to test sirens along Puntledge River in Courtenay this week

Public safety is very important to BC Hydro, and it’s one of… Continue reading

Capt. Jenn Casey died in a crash just outside of Kamloops, B.C., on May 17, 2020. (CF Snowbirds)
Snowbirds to honour Capt. Casey, who died in B.C. crash, in 2021 tour

Tour will kick off in Ontario in June before heading west

Artist's drawing of the proposed 52-unit affordable seniors housing project in Comox. File photo
Comox Valley Affordable Housing Society receives federal grant money

The Comox Valley Affordable Housing Society (CVAHS) has received $25,000 in grant… Continue reading

An avalanche near Highway 1 in Glacier National Park. Avalanche Canada will benefit from a $10 million grant from the B.C. government. (Photo by Parks Canada)
Avalanche Canada receives $10-million grant from B.C. government

Long sought-after funds to bolster organization’s important work

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The following is a list of restaurants offering take-out and patio dining. ADOBE STOCK IMAGE
List of Comox Valley restaurants offering take-out, patio dining options

Restaurants in the Comox Valley continue to adapt to government-imposed restrictions in… Continue reading

The only access to 5th Street bridge heading east (toward Lewis Park) is via Anderton Avenue. Photo by Terry Farrell.
Single lane alternating traffic controls on Courtenay bridge now in effect

Single lane alternating traffic on the 5th Street Bridge is now in… Continue reading

The new wing at the Victoria International Airport opened up on Thursday (File contributed/YYJ)
Pandemic takes ‘hundreds of millions’ out of Victoria Airport, Vancouver Island economy

Airport authority head says passenger volumes down as much as 98 per cent

The top photo is of a real carbine rifle, while the bottom photo is the airsoft rifle seized from a Kelowna man on May 15. (Contributed)
RCMP issue warning: ‘Imitation firearms need to be dealt with responsibly’

A man brandishing his airsoft rifle in public had his weapon seized by Mounties on Saturday

Reigning women’s World Champion Kaetlyn Osmond, who also took bronze at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, will debut two brand new programs for the 2021 Stars On Ice tour, in Victoria May 15. (File photo)
Kurt Browning, Elvis Stojko hit the ice when Stars On Ice returns to Vancouver Island

The star-studded lineup is makes a return after pandemic hiatus

Abbotsford Regional Hospital. (Black Press Media files)
Canada marks 25,000 COVID-19 deaths since the pandemic began

6 in every 10,000 Canadians died of COVID-19 since March 9, 2020

Staff-Sgt. Svend Nielsen, with the 100 Mile House RCMP. (Melissa Smalley - 100 Mile Free Press)
14-year-old boy killed in serious ATV crash near 100 Mile House

Youth was travelling with a group of peers when the incident occurred last Friday

Most Read