National charity kicks off massive “ReLeaf” planting to restore greenspaces in Fort McMurray after last year’s wildfire

May 26, 2017 (Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, AB) — This weekend Tree Canada kicks off a massive tree-planting to restore greenspaces in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo and surrounding areas destroyed by last year’s devastating wildfire. In total, more than 70,000 trees will be planted this year alone.

The restoration efforts get underway Saturday May 27 at Helen Pacholko Park in Fort McMurray, AB with a volunteer tree-planting and community celebration hosted by Tree Canada and the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. Tree Canada President Michael Rosen will be joined by Melissa Blake, Mayor of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo and Sean Finn, Executive Vice-President of CN and other key partners. Several hundred community members and volunteers are also expected to be in attendance.

This multi-year undertaking is a part of Tree Canada’s #OperationReLeaf initiative and was made possible after the charity received an enormous outpouring of support from corporate partners and everyday Canadians across the country. In addition to CN, which donated $1 million towards #OperationReLeaf efforts nationwide, Tree Canada has also received generous support from IKEA Canada, U-Haul, TELUS, FedEx Express Canada, Earth Day Network, Unilever Canada, SANOFI, Suncor Energy and BP Canada Energy Group.

Tree Canada has amassed 20 years of experience restoring areas after natural disasters. The first #OperationReLeaf was following the floods in Saguenay, Quebec in 1996. All trees planted in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo will be non-invasive tree species appropriate for the area and climate zone and will be planted to industry best practices including FireSmart standards.


“We’re dedicated to returning this community to its former beauty and would like to thank our corporate partners and individual Canadians for making this all possible. We deeply sympathize with residents who lost their homes and have had their lives so disrupted by the fire. It is my sincere hope that this initiative will help to bring back a sense of normalcy to the community”

– Michael Rosen, President of Tree Canada

“Fort McMurray is an important community for CN, and our own employees were personally affected by the disaster. We are proud to support an initiative that will not only help restore the tree canopy but will also contribute to the wellbeing of this community with lasting benefits. We encourage other Canadian businesses to join CN in support of Fort McMurray’s reforestation.”

– Sean Finn, CN Executive Vice-President, Corporate Services and Chief Legal Officer

“We are deeply grateful to Tree Canada and all of its partners for this very generous donation. This support will undoubtedly lift the spirits of the entire community and help us restore so much of the natural beauty that was impacted by the wildfire.”

– Melissa Blake, Mayor of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo

About Tree Canada:

Tree Canada is a non-profit charity dedicated to improving the lives of Canadians by planting and nurturing trees. Since 1992, we’ve planted more than 80 million trees, greened more than 580 schoolyards, helped restore places hit by natural disasters and brought together urban forestry experts greening cities all across Canada. Get involved or learn more about us at

About CN:

CN is a true backbone of the economy, transporting more than C$250 billion worth of goods annually for a wide range of business sectors, ranging from resource products to manufactured products to consumer goods, across a rail network spanning Canada and mid-America. CN – Canadian National Railway Company, along with its operating railway subsidiaries — serves the cities and ports of Vancouver, Prince Rupert, B.C., Montreal, Halifax, New Orleans, and Mobile, Ala., and the metropolitan areas of Toronto, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Calgary, Chicago, Memphis, Detroit, Duluth, Minn./Superior, Wis., and Jackson, Miss., with connections to all points in North America. For more information on CN, visit the company’s website at

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