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New tree owner is re-leafed Markham has put down roots for him
Aug. 10, 2017
By Tim Kelly

It started with a publicity stunt, but Grant Ross is stumped no more: he’s now re-leafed, since he’s the owner of a new tree.

The Claxton Road resident, who held a party with his artificial tree on his front lawn last week and invited the mayor to attend, finally got his wish.

That was the tree he’d waited nearly three years to receive from the city - since his 30-year-old ash was removed in November 2014, after it was severely damaged in the December 2013 ice storm.

Ross, 70, grew so frustrated with the delays and waiting for his promised replacement tree that he put up a cardboard sign on his front lawn that read: “Mr. Scarpitti. Since you don’t return calls or reply to emails and you love photo ops be here Tues. 8:00 p.m. Tree Lighting. Celebrate a Tree.”

Ross, who has a sense of humour, but was clearly soured by the experience, also took a potshot at the mayor, saying: “Frank is always available for photo-ops, they call him Photo-Op Frank.”

It was a pointed jab at the Markham mayor after Ross said several emails and a phone call hadn’t been returned by His Honour.

But, the mayor responded a few days later in an interview, saying those who email him get automatic responses and Ross’s tree situation had simply fallen through the cracks. He said he should have maybe apologized to Ross for not getting back to him, but added that since Ward Coun. Karen Rea and Deputy Mayor Jack Heath had been copied on the email Ross sent to him, he thought the issue was well in hand.

He also defended photo-ops, saying they were the result of years and months of hard work.

“I make no apologies for photo-ops,” said the mayor.

In any case, Ross is finally happy to be in tree heaven.

“Jane and I are pleased to announce the arrival of our new, long-awaited baby male Ginkgo,” said Ross on Tuesday, as he posed with the tree. He just wants to bury the past and move on.