Wright Memorial Maple Tree
96th Avenue and Wright Street, Township of Langley, British Columbia, V1M, Canada
Wright Memorial Maple Tree
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The Wright Memorial Maple Tree consists of one mature Broad Leaf Maple Tree located at the intersection of 96th Avenue and Wright Street in Fort Langley. In front of the tree is a bronze memorial marker that lists the name of the soldier being commemorated and a small tribute.
Planted in 1923, the Wright Memorial Maple Tree is significant for its historic and social values, in particular for the man it memorializes and the world-shattering event it remembers.
Jesse Wright had only been in Canada since 1911 when he joined the 360 men from Langley who went overseas to fight in World War One. He died at Vimy Ridge in 1917, one of about 36 men from the Township who died in the line of duty. The tree planted as a memorial to his death is located on a prominent road in Fort Langley. Its location and its size alone make it a landmark feature of Fort Langley, but its true value lies in its association with Mr. Wright and the role the tree plays to remind people how this war touched so many in the community of Langley.
Also associated with this tree are Dr. Benjamin Marr and Archie Payne, Langley residents who were members of the Langley Volunteers division, which fought in France during the war. These two men wanted to honour their fallen comrades by having broad leaf maple trees planted and named after the soldiers. They also arranged for the street names on which each Maple stood to be changed to the last name of the soldier being memorialized at that site. This tree is one of only four WWI memorial trees that have survived in the Township and represents the residents' pride in their community and their civic-mindedness with regard to honouring those who fought and died in World War One.
The Maple Tree family is highly significant for its representational and memorial symbolism. Not only are Broadleaf Maples the largest growing maple tree native to BC (reaching up to 36 metres), they are also the symbol of Canada and an early expression of Canada's nationhood. The maple leaf was the first military insignia for Canada, so it is appropriate that a maple tree was chosen to memorialize fallen Canadian soldiers.
The listing of this tree on Langley's Heritage Register demonstrates the commitment of the Township of Langley and its citizens to recognizing and preserving its natural heritage.
Source: Langley Centennial Museum, heritage files
The character-defining elements of the Wright Memorial Maple Tree include:
- The strong cultural associations that the community has for this tree, in particular the memorializing of Jesse Wright and of the First World War, as indicated on the plaque at its base
- The siting and relationship of the tree to the intersection of Wright Street and 96th Avenue, which is an important access road to Fort Langley
- Its species (Broad Leaf Maple Tree – Acer macrophyllum)
- The deciduous aspect of this tree, which results in the seasonal changes of its colour and canopy
- The shallow grooves of the bark, which is a sign of age in this particular type of Maple tree
Local Governments (BC)
Local Government Act, s.954
Community Heritage Register
Theme - Category and Type
- Building Social and Community Life
- Education and Social Well-Being
Function - Category and Type
- Nature Element
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
Langley Centennial Museum, heritage files
Cross-Reference to Collection