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Loss of tree bittersweet for Maples couple

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A Maples area couple had to say goodbye to a very special tree late last month.


Frank and Sophie Czayka, who reside on Ashmore Avenue, donated a 50-foot silver spruce tree from their yard to the Winnipeg Art Gallery’s Eckhardt Hall to lend some holiday cheer to the space. The tree had to be cut down to 20 feet in order to fit in the room.


Sophie explained the tree was planted 28 years ago in honour of the birth of their second daughter Nicole, part of an old Polish custom. However, as the tree grew, the couple realized the spot it was planted in wasn’t ideal.

"It was planted in the wrong spot, it was blocking our view of our neighbours, and blocking the view period," Sophie said.


"It was also blocking my flower garden. Things weren’t growing very well."


When the couple decided to part with the tree, they offered to give it to the city. The tree didn’t quite suit the city’s needs, and they decided to give it to the gallery.


Sophie said removing the tree was bittersweet, and especially difficult for Nicole, for whom the tree held such meaning.


"When she saw it she had tears in her eyes," Sophie said.


The tree was the focus of the WAG’s tree-triming party on Dec. 2, and the family helped with its decoration. Sophie said they intend to plant a new tree in their yard, this time in a more convenient location.

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