'An incredible honour': Victoria's first female mayor gets tree in Mayor's Grove
Gretchen Mann Brewin, right, the first woman to be elected mayor of Victoria, plants a tree in the Mayor's Grove with current Mayor Lisa Helps. (CTV)
CTV Vancouver Island
Published Saturday, July 6, 2019 3:13PM PDT
Since 1927, nearly three dozen visiting dignitaries have planted trees in the Mayor's Grove in Victoria's Beacon Hill Park.
Until Saturday, however, no Victoria resident had ever been honoured with a tree in the grove.
"It's just a super thing, an incredible honour," said former Victoria Mayor Gretchen Mann Brewin on Saturday at the planting of a Garry Oak commemorating her tenure as mayor.
Brewin was the first woman to serve as mayor of Victoria. She was elected to the office for two terms between 1985 and 1990.
Dozens of people attended the ceremony, where the city's second female mayor sang the praises of her forerunner.
"She's been a role model for me," said current Mayor Lisa Helps. "She's been a leader in our community."
Helps said it was "pretty special" to be able to honour Brewin in this way. She said her predecessor had an approach to government that she tries to emulate.
"One of the things that I've heard from people who know her well is the collaborative and forward-looking approach she took to running the city," Helps said.
Brewin also had praise to offer for Helps, particularly for the current mayor's environmentalism and for her focus on balancing what Brewin called the many "communities within a city."
"She seems to be doing an absolutely fine job," the former mayor said, though she added that the current mayor was "not uncontroversial."
Both mayors spoke of the significance of the Garry Oak tree, an endangered species that is native to Vancouver Island.
"We need to have more Garry Oaks in the community," Brewin said.
Including Brewin's, a total of 35 trees have been planted in the Mayor's Grove since it was established 92 years ago.