Pembroke man creates smiles with an Easter Tree on the Algonquin Trail

Running right through Pembroke is the Algonquin Trail, a high traffic trail used for walkers, runners, cyclists, ATVs, and snowmobiles.

Located not too far from the Forced Road entrance in Pembroke, many of these trail users will have come across Kirk Iredale’s Easter tree.

"It’s something to do on your own, stuck with COVID," says Iredale, who lives alone not too far from the site of his tree.

"I walk the trail every day so I get to see it every day. The kids love it, a lot of seniors and families walk along here."

Iredale says he erected the tree in November after his pickleball season ended and he was looking for something to keep him busy. He originally thought to put the tree in his front yard, but decided on a fork in the Algonquin Trail to allow it to be seen by more people.

"It made me feel good, because I knew it would make other people feel good," says Iredale who has decorated the tree with 150 plastic Easter eggs. "There’s little plastic baskets on there full of chocolate Easter eggs."

This is the fourth iteration of Iredale’s holiday tree. Originally decorated for Christmas, then done up again for Valentine’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day, Iredale says his little pastime has also attracted interest from passerby who have added their own decoration as well.

"I just think it’s a great initiative and something to just brighten up things and bring a smile to people during times when there’s not a whole lot that’s fun," says Donna Stokell, Iredale’s friend and fellow pickleball player. "He says that he does it because he enjoys it and that’s true, but he also does it a lot for other people. He’s just super giving."

Living not too far from the trail and walking their dog Oliver past it every day, Abby and Josh Schultz say the entire community has appreciated the effort.

"Honestly, it has lifted everybody’s spirits," said Abby. "Every single neighbour is asking who did it, who did it, and they say it looks so good."

"I think someone just thought it was a good idea to insert some happiness and get a tree out on the walking trail," said Josh, who finally met its creator after walking by it for weeks.

"They want to know what I’m doing next." Iredale says, adding he has some plans in the works for upcoming holidays like Canada Day. He is interested in keeping the community tree decorated for celebrations to come.

"Oh gosh yeah. I’ll do this every year, absolutely."