In 1791 after the American rebellion and the ensuing flood of displaced persons arrive into the upper country, Great Britain took it upon itself to divide Quebec into Lower and Upper Canada. Upper Canada, which the British claimed but did not own and did not conquer – actually Upper Canada was the territories-depending-thereon part of Quebec – held a treasure. Embedded in the southern part of the province was woodland. A section of the colossal Carolinian forest tipped as far north as Toronto and ran through the Carolinas and dipped as far south as Savannah. It encompassed Tinaatoua or the Grand River, which marked its western beginning and connected the north and south of the Great Lakes.
In variety and abundance the arboreal wilderness must have been breathtaking. There were chestnut, honey locust, nannyberry, sassafras, wild crabapple, willow, witch hazel, black maple, walnut, sweet birch, staghound sumac, beechnut, shagbark hickory, blue ash, sycamore and white pine trees and many more varieties but perhaps because of the work of clearing them and stumping them the inconvenience to Europeans must have been equally breathtaking. Nonetheless it took a mere fifty years for the magnificent woodland to give way to meadows, grassland, scrub oak and macadamized roads. Forest gave way to concrete. Towns and cities popped up. And farm after farm after farm.
American sycamore, photo credit, JJMK
Sky Walker Tehawennihárhos and the Battle of Vinegar Hill, p367.