Ottawa area farm sending more than 400 Christmas trees to Yellowknife

An Ottawa-area tree farm is sending more than 400 Christmas trees to Yellowknife, NWT.

The Johnston Brothers Tree Farm in North Grenville—just south of Ottawa—is used to providing Christmas trees for ‘cut-your-own’ and wholesale customers.

“This tree farm was established in 1952,” says Kerry Johnston.

But one recent order in particular caught Johnston’s attention.

“At first, to be honest, I thought it was a bit of a hoax,” he says. “Trees into Yellowknife? There are lots of trees in the west. It seemed unusual.”

It was an order for more than 400 trees, destined for the Northwest Territories, which Johnston says will be sold by a local Scouts group as their fundraiser.

“They needed trees on short order. I think their normal supplier cut them off, and said ‘We’re sorry, we don’t have trees for you.’”

But he does - even if others may not.

“In North America, specifically in Canada and even in the Ottawa area, there is a definite tree shortage for wholesale trees,” says Johnston.

The trees have been loaded onto a shipping container at the farm. They will travel by truck to Montreal, then by train to Calgary, and finally by truck again to Yellowknife.

And if you struggle getting just on tree home, try more than 400 into tight spaces. The entire operation takes a lot of co-ordination and multi-generational help, with even Johnston’s 84-year old mother Sheila, and 96-year old Father Pud on hand to help load.

“I think it’s quite sensational and certainly a first. We’ve never shipped trees that far,” says Pud Johnston. “I think it’s very rewarding for us, we work very hard at it.”

“I never expected us to take a tree that far, anyway; I don’t think any of the trees expected that either, of course,” says Johnston’s son Eric.

One special 24-foot tree was also loaded into the container. Johnston says it is headed for the legislative building in Yellowknife.

If you’d like to visit the farm and cut your own tree, you can visit their Facebook page or website