Oak Bay Mayor Nils Jensen, Rudi Hoenson, the last living Canadian survivor of Nagasaki and Jonathan Down, pediatrician, member of Physicians for Global Survival, and the Vancouver Island Peace and Disarmament Network, plant the tree Aug. 5 in Oak Bay. (Spencer Pickles photos)

Photos and video: Oak Bay commemorates Hiroshima, Nagasaki with tree planting

Last living Canadian survivor of Nagasaki on hand to plant tree of peace

The heartiest of 19 ginkgo tree saplings in Oak Bay’s stock sets root outside Athlone Court after a special ceremony Aug. 5.

Mayor of Oak Bay Nils Jensen planted the sapling grown from the seeds of a tree that survived the atomic blast at Hiroshima.

“It’s important we do what we can in our own daily lives to plant our own seeds of peace,” Jensen said.

He planted the tree alongside the last living Canadian survivor of Nagasaki, Rudi Hoenson, who was a prisoner of war in Nagasaki when the bomb was dropped – and Jonathan Dowd, a member of Physicians for Global Survival and the Vancouver Island Peace and Disarmament Network.

Oak Bay received 25 seeds as part of the Mayors for Peace/Seeds of Peace and 19 germinated in a “a sign of resiliency and hope,” said Dowd. Oak Bay’s parks department nurtured them into the small seedlings to be planted in the community.

The seedling was planted outside Athlone Court in Oak Bay village, a busy hub in the community.

“Peace is an everyday thing … it’s important what we can do in our own daily lives to plant our own seeds of peace,” Jensen said. “We need that kind of reminder in our daily lives.”

Jensen also proclaimed Hiroshima Memorial Day and Nagasaki Memorial Day, Aug. 6 and 9 in Oak Bay.

“I think it’s our No. 1 job to protect the planet and protect humanity,” Jensen said. “It’s something I can do in a very small way. If all the mayors do this in a small way it becomes a much louder voice.

“We are all responsible for what happened in Hiroshima and we’re all responsible for making sure it never happens again.”

editor@oakbaynews.com