Londoners have never forgotten that their city began as a clearing in the forest and in fact too many London Ontario is known as the Forest City. The Tree Trunk Tour is unique to London as far as we know and is a favorite of many – tourists or otherwise.
It all began with just five carvings, works of art created from the stumps of trees which would otherwise have had to be removed. From there, the other fifteen were added to make a walking tour like no other. Six artists are involved in creating the sculptures from the tree trunks and their styles are very different. Some of the finished sculptures are coloured – such as King of Pigs at 206 Hamilton Road, but others are left natural. They are all sealed against the weather though – we want our Tree Trunk Tour to last a good long while.
To be honest, the Cross family gets a big buzz from walking our visitors through the Tree Trunk Tour and some of us (Raymond, I’m talking to you) get really grouchy when their favourite doesn’t get the biggest round of applause.
There’s something for everyone, from the thought-provoking shepherd to the laugh-out-loud pig, but for me, the thinking squirrel has it every time. A squirrel spends a lot of time on its own through the winter – it’s only natural it would be a big reader!
Most of the work of creating these sculptures is done with chainsaws, a method used by traditional Inuit artists today, but they mainly work in stone. The fine work is done with chisels and power rotary tools and when you go up close some of the detail is incredible. A sculpture takes about four weeks from start to finish and it has been a great treat to see them grow under the hands of an artist.
Although tree trunk carving is popular now throughout the world, there is nothing else quite like our Tree Trunk Tour. And don’t worry about getting lost – unless there is a big truck in the way, you can almost always see the next tree and if you can’t, there will always be a super-friendly Londoner to show you the way.