Family continues Christmas tree tradition started 48 years ago by late Saanichton farmer


WATCH: Although 65-year-old farmer Mike Fleming died in October, his family is continuing his tradition of donating a Christmas tree to the BC Legislature. April Lawrence reports.

A Christmas tree was delivered outside the B.C. Parliament Buildings Monday morning, just like one has been for the past 48 years.

But as the massive grand fir was prepped for its new home, for the first time, a key part of the holiday tradition was missing. The man usually behind the chainsaw, farmer and owner of Saanichton Christmas Tree Farm, Mike Fleming, died of a heart attack in October.

“We were sad of course to hear of the passing of Mike Fleming who had personally brought Christmas trees to the legislature for many decades,” said Acting Legislature Clerk Kate Ryan-Lloyd.

While Fleming is no longer around to carry on the tradition he started nearly five decades ago, his family is vowing to carry on his legacy.

“He would be really really proud, he was a huge mentor for my family and I but a really big advocate for agriculture in the community too,” said his niece Olivia Fleming.

Mike Fleming started selling trees when he was just 16-years-old and in the years that followed built a reputation as one of the top Christmas tree farmers in the province.

He loved animals and was a major supporter of the local 4H club something the legislature took note of Monday as they paid his generosity forward.

“On behalf of the legislature we have provided the family with a small donation in his memory to the 4H club,” said Ryan-Lloyd.

As the tree goes up, it’s a visible reminder of the man that’s been such an important presence at the building every Christmas. But the nearly seven-metre tall grand fir is even more than that — it was actually planted by him, on his Shawnigan Farm, 25 years ago.

“He would be really happy to see us here and I’m sure he’d be very proud of this tree,” said Fleming.


April LawrenceApril Lawrence

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