Donating Trees and Benches

You might have seen plaques on Trees and benches in Cobourg’s parks – these generally commemorate someone and are there because a citizen donated them. But to do that, the donor has contacted the Parks Department and discussed it with them although to date there has not been any policy or presumably, consistency on costs or what is done. But now, the Town’s Parks department is working on establishing a policy and procedure for such donations with the first step being to discuss draft documents with the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee at their meeting on December 7. The cost will be standardized at $3,000 for most benches (including plaque) and $450 for a tree plus $275 for a plaque. This is a donation so ongoing maintenance is done by the Town and they control details to ensure quality.

I would think that this work is a result of the 2018 Urban Forest Management Plan which recommended that:

The Town’s Donation / Memorial tree program will be enhanced and will contribute to community recognition of the value of trees.

Here is a summary of the proposed policies:


Four types:

  1. White cast metal – Available only on the Waterfront $3000
  2. Black Cast Metal – Available in Upper Victoria Park and in most Parks $3000
  3. Concrete with reclaimed wood or Metal post and wood style $1700 (to be confirmed)
  4. Add plaque to existing bench $800 (to be confirmed)

It can take several months for a bench to be ordered and delivered or built.

Bert’s Bench

Note that the Parks Department comments that the “Donation period is for 15 years. You may wish to renew when the term is up.” This is presumably because Benches have a useful life (the number of years is yet to be confirmed).

Example of a Donated Bench

In late 2018 Alma Draper raised funds for a bench on the waterfront to commemorate her friend Bert MacMillan. She then worked with the Parks Department to install it. At right is a photo of the “unveiling” event in May 2019.


As well as simply planting a tree, there are other categories such as large planting projects. Single trees can be planted in all parks except:

  • Victoria Park – No individual dedications.
  • Peace Park – Limited space available.
  • Arboretum on Elgin St W – Not available

Staff will assist with choosing the species. Depending on the species a tree will have a trunk size 50 mm caliper (diameter) minimum. Depending on the species a tree this size will be 3 to 15 metres.

Example of a Donated Tree

Probus Tree planting
Probus Tree planting

For several years, Russ Donaldson of the Cobourg Probus Club organized a ceremonial tree planting to commemorate Probus members who had passed in the previous year. At right is a photo of the event in 2015 with then Mayor Gil Brocanier doing the honors with Russ watching.

Although it’s planned at some point to have a web page on the Town of Cobourg Web site and this will make forms available for download, in general you will need to contact the Parks Department to discuss what you have in mind.

Tax receipts are available for both Benches and Trees.

II would expect that after the Advisory Committee looks at the forms and suggests changes, that the final recommended forms/policies will come to Council for approval. Look on the Town’s web site for final approved forms or meanwhile contact:

For Benches: Parks Department at 905-372-8641 or e-mail [email protected]
For Trees: Municipal Arborist at 905-372-8641 x 4369 or e-mail [email protected]


Draft forms – not yet for use.

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2 years ago

I brought this very old policy back,while on council, after my official visit with Savannah, Georgia council and I though a tax credit and perpetuity care would be beneficial and increase our community pride as individuals, families and friends for that personal grieving or birth in a family. Let people be free to die, in peace, forget the organization or business they belong to. Life and respect for life was the rationale behind the policy, not rich or poor, ill or healthy, banker or unemployed, capitalist or communist. I didn’t get to draft the design. Mainly all the churches were lobbied and they all wrote a letter to approuve it. I still hold these documents.
I would advise the staff concerning benches they shouldn’t be turned away, after the fact on their own, from facing the lake view. Find a way for handicapped, to stay on their wheelchair. Instead sympathize with the grievers and donators.People were sensitive about this change without being consulted. This is not right.

Last edited 2 years ago by Johanne
2 years ago

Now that wobbly knees have arrived, along with shortness of breath, and not sharing a bench due to COVID fears, i have now realized we need more benches. I have instructed my son, when the time comes, to please purchase a bench.

2 years ago

I will welcome a new Policy + Procedure over a new By-law any day…..

2 years ago

I have wondered what it would cost to put up a bench in Memorium. But, unfortunately, with the prices quoted, that is one idea that won’t come to fruition. Ecology Garden would suit us fine, better use of money too.

Last edited 2 years ago by Gerry
Reply to  Gerry
2 years ago

Many people have and will continue to purchase benches in memory of a loved one. We purchased a memorial tree with a plaque in memory of my daughter. A tree is much more affordable and helps the environment.