The lone, majestic Comfort Maple Tree stands tall at almost 25 metres, with an astounding six-metre girth and 40-metre crown width beside a field in Pelham, Ontario. The tree is widely believed to be the oldest and finest sugar maple tree in Canada and was given the title of a heritage tree in June 2000 under the Ontario Heritage Act.
The story of the Comfort Maple Tree is one of storm, stress and resilience: The Comfort Maple Tree was originally in an area of hardwood forest, which was likely cleared when the tree was still young for agricultural purposes. This act and many other instances of unnatural clearing of the forest led to the water table and streams lowering which devastated the nearby town. But despite this, when the Comfort family first settled the land in 1816, the Maple Tree stood tall. Presumably amazed by the tree’s seeming perseverance, Earl Hampton set aside a piece of land for the sole purpose of protecting the tree. In 1961, his sister Edna donated the tree and 4 hectares of land to the Niagara Region Conservation Authority.
The Comfort Maple Conservation Area is the product of Edna Hampton’s donation. The area still has around half an acre of land, a parking lot and a few benches. The tree has now been outfitted with guy wires to support some of its branches. In 1975, the Ontario Forestry Association estimated the tree to be 400-500 years old. Despite being centuries old, the Comfort Maple stands tall as a beacon of Canada’s strength and tradition.
Trip Planning – Comfort Maple Conservation Area
Why to go: Visit Canada’s oldest sugar maple tree. See renewal in spring, everchanging hues of autumn colours, and fabulous greenery in summer supported on the six-metre trunk and 40-metre crown width.
When to go: Open Year Round 30 minutes before dawn to30 minutes after dusk
Where to go: 640 Metler Rd, Fenwick