On November 16th, 2016, Sault Ste. Marie’s first community orchard was officially inaugurated. Located at the Algoma District School Board’s Etienne Brule site, the orchard will eventually include 48 apple trees and 30 sugar maples. A total of 24 trees have been planted so far, with the remainder to come in the spring of 2017.
The establishment of the orchard was made possible thanks to a grant from CN Rail’s “From the Ground Up” program. Sault Ste. Marie was one of 25 communities across Canada that was awarded a grant in 2016. The successful application was developed by Tori Prouse of the City of Sault Ste. Marie’s Planning Department.
The orchard is another positive development at the west-end site, which has become a community hub since the closure of the former Etienne Brule elementary school. The building now houses the Urban Aboriginal school program, a daycare, and several programs that have been developed in partnership with Ontario Works and other social service providers. In addition to the orchard, the property is also home to a playground, a Hub Trail spoke, and a community garden.
Though it will take a few years for the trees to mature and begin bearing fruit, in time, the orchard will be a fantastic community resource for citizens to enjoy.