Recently the community that I grew up in destroyed a landmark that has been there for as long as I can remember. The Kinmount shoe trees have always been an attraction for me and my family as locals and to the many tourists who happen upon them during a tour of the Kawartha Lakes.
Just this summer my brother, sister and I stopped by the trees to take pictures of them. Yes they were quite disgusting with loose shoes and garbage all around the roadside but that could have easily been fixed. If just one day was spent to preserve these trees in a year all the fallen shoes could be cleaned up along with the garbage. The shoes on the hydro lines could be taken down and the landmark could have remained.
The Peterborough Examiner wrote a story about the fate of the trees and my grandparents were quoted in the story. Obviously they are just as devastated as I am about the destruction of these trees. They were healthy even with hundreds of pairs of shoes attached to them and they were not posing a threat to any part of the environment. Yes, the roadside really isn’t wide enough for cars to be pulling over to take photos of the trees, but for an attraction that has been around for more than 20 years you would think that turning this landmark into a safe tourist attraction would have been considered before the killing of four trees.
The Kinmount shoe trees, are much like an art piece built by a studio. It took many hands and different materials and a great deal of time to create them. As an art work they told a story about the community, those who lived there, as well as those who visited and cared enough to leave a little bit of themselves behind to continue the story.
I am very sad to hear that such a rash judgement has lead to the demise of these trees and hope that in the future more thought will go into the destruction of a piece of artwork.
When discussing how terrible I felt about the theft of this tree from my community with a few friends of mine one of them pointed out how important art is to a cultures identity. This made me think back on the stolen Mona Lisa “reclaimed” by the Italians who felt that Leonardo da Vinci’s work was more theirs than the French’s. This move was a huge slash against French nationality because da Vinci worked for the king of France. I feel very similar to that of the French people. Offended when someone else took away a major part of my community.
[edited: November 11th 2011]