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Everything King: A tribute to a fallen monument

Wendy awaits her neighbours' accolades
shoe tree 1 2017
1.2 tonnes of shoes were removed from the 'Shoe Tree' on Crossland Rd. in Springwater Township. Photo courtesy Stephen Bumstead

There are so many cool and quirky landmarks.

A few that come to mind are that ‘Love Lock” bridge in Paris where sweethearts put padlocks to represent true love (although I think they took them off because they were too heavy), the Blarney Stone in Ireland is really just a rock that you hang upside down to kiss to get the gift of gab, there’s a giant tomato which doubles as a tourist welcome centre in Leamington, Ontario. Not to be outdone by the giant apple on the highway near Colborne and, of course, the shoe tree on Crossland Road in Springwater Township just outside Barrie.

As we learned in BarrieToday last week, it was recently cut down and the shoes hauled away to the landfill. For some odd reason, this made me really sad.

The reason given was the failing health of the tree where thousands of shoes were nailed. Shoes are apparently heavy . . . 1.2 tonnes of shoes were hanging from that tree, according to County of Simcoe estimates.

I drove by that tree a thousand times. I marveled at it. It made me oddly happy. I never really knew how it started or why it started. Nobody really did. As my colleagues at BarrieToday reported there were differing stories.

I had always feared someone had died on that trail and this was a tribute. Thankfully, it doesn't sound like that was the case.

Then I figured that everyone who hiked there left a shoe to show accomplishment. Maybe not.

I always thought it was a great use of that one random shoe that is often seen strewn along the road — why is it there is always just one????? 

“Didn't the person notice one shoe was missing”

“How did they walk home with one shoe”?

“Why don’t they return to the scene and reclaim the lost shoe? Are they so rich they just buy new shoes? Are they Kardashians?”

Anyway, the shoe tree apparently had nothing to do with my scenarios.

There are a few stories floating about but nobody seems to know which it completely accurate.

I guess it may be better that way. Each pair of shoes with a unique story to tell.

Some were scuffed, others had broken laces, some  seemed barely worn, others solitary, many in pairs but all representing something to someone.

Some people say the shoe tree was an eyesore while others enjoyed it as a little bit of whimsy.

I decided to make my own monument to the fallen tree. I am calling it the ugly shoe tree. I am using my collection of crocs so I guess its technically a rubber tree. I don’t want to hurt my tree by hammering nails into it so I will just lean the shoes on it. It will be crocs with holes in the top. It can represent the fact that sometimes your journey will not be pretty but keep walking!

Perhaps it would be a nice added touch to hang an odour eater beside it — y’know to class it up!

I bet my neighbours will be heralding its beauty. I await their accolades and the headlines!