The Golden Tree
Canada's first monument to farmworkers, this 22-foot tall tree statue commemorates the three women that lost their lives in a tragic farm-vehicle accident in Abbotsford in 2007. It is situated on the grounds of the Abbotsford public library.
From bottom to top the tree transitions in appearance from realism to idealism; rough tree bark on the roots and trunk give way to smooth golden branches and stylized leaves at the top. This represents the expectation a of better, safer reality for farmworkers in the future.
Trees are an important symbol in nearly every culture. They are a metaphor for abundance, growth and the cyclical nature of life. They anchor ground to sky and connect Earth and Heaven. They also represent unity, community, and diversity, making the tree an appropriate symbol for the farmworkers of Canada.
The trunk of the tree twists into the figures of three women, forming what is known as a “female trinity”. The female trinity represents the cycle of life, death and rebirth. The female trinity is depicted in this monument as daughter, mother and matriarch. The use of this symbolism is intended not only to commemorate the three women whose lives were so tragically lost, but also to pay tribute to the Farmworkers who help to feed and nurture the society that depends on their efforts.
Valuable and symbolically significant across the world, gold is a precious metal that denotes spiritual growth, as well as the human quest for eternity and perfection. Thus, gold is symbolic of self-purification and the transition of a soul.
The apple tree is the world’s earliest cultivated tree and has a deep, symbolic significance that is honored worldwide. Considered to represent “useful beauty”, it is often described as a tree of eternal youth, knowledge or life. Although the Golden Tree features apples, until the 17th century, the word “apple”, was a generic term used to describe a wide variety of fruit. Thus, the apples of the Golden Tree stand for the wide variety of products produced by our farms.
Commisioned by the BC Federation of Labour, the Golden Tree monument was the product of a years worth of work, taking four years in total from concept to installation. The design process involved sketches, 3D visualization (see below), and a maquette. The monument has a heavy duty steel infrastructure. The trunk is cast in concrete. The branches are a composite of urethane foam, fibre-glass, and Bondo, with an outer layer of sculpting epoxy. The transparent green leaves are made with metal stems embeded in cast resin. Gold leaf covers much of the tree, providing a radiant lustre and a durable weatherproof finish.
By Moss Doerksen. Note: the Tree was originally planned for installation at Mill Lake.