Branching Out in Kitsilano


I recently came across a very local website called kitsTREEmap and thought it would be interesting to learn more about the site. What better way than to interview its creator Leigh Florence. Here is what I learned:

Cool website but what is

KitsTREEmap is a self-guided walking route of Kitsilano using some of the great trees and tree lined streets of the neighbourhood as markers.

Who’s it for?

It was conceived as a walking route for tourists to the area because that’s what I was when I first lived in Kitsilano. I think I’ve done a good job of showing what is so great about this area to someone who is visiting it for the first time. Saying that, I really hope locals like it and can use it to learn about a few of their local trees.

Why Kitsilano, there are trees all over Vancouver?

Kits is special isn’t it! Anyone who has lived here or visits here knows that. I was reading on Wikipedia that Greenpeace was started here. It doesn’t surprise me because it just feels like a place where things happen. Obviously it’s expensive and that excludes a lot of people from living here but the beach and green bits are free for everybody to enjoy.  But you’re right, there are trees are all over Vancouver: with the mountains and the ocean its what makes Vancouver so special.

You want people to talk to trees?

Well only if they want to. It seems to me that nature is central to many peoples spirituality here. When I first arrived in Vancouver I was walking alone in Pacific Spirit Park and was approached by a woman who asked me if the trees spoke to me. It wasn’t what I was expecting but i really appreciated her interest in me. This way of thinking is not unusual for Vancouver in my experience. The greater understanding one has of how everything is interconnected the less strange it seems.

Why are trees important in a city?

So many reasons, obviously an important one is they work for us, absorbing carbon and filtering pollutants. But they are just so beautiful aren’t they and are a great calming component that every city should have.

What do you love most about Kits?

The Community Gardens on West 6th I think are particularly lovely. But i also really like how creative people are with their gardens and houses.

Do you have a favourite tree?

Because I have spent so much time on kits beach it’s hard not to love the Weeping Willows (see picture above), but I really like Catalpa it’s flowers are so beautiful, the leaves are fantastic and then there are the crazy pods!

Last modified: January 27, 2010

2 Responses to " Branching Out in Kitsilano "

  1. This is amazing! I love the idea- can’t wait to walk it!


  2. SS says:

    This is great!! I have always wondered about trees around Vancouver. It will be nice to learn what they are and do some exploring!!