Last year for a Sudol tree

Barry
Barry Glass
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Christmas has dozens of traditions associated with it, including the selection of a Christmas tree.

Sadly, one choice for people to get the perfect tree faces the end of the line.

For years, Frank Sudol and partner Lois Laycraft offered what they called a Christmas tree experience.

People travelled to the farm of Sudol and Laycraft, rode in a hay wagon from the couple's log home to the plantation of Christmas trees Sudol started, picked out their tree, and rode back to the house for hot chocolate and Laycraft's homemade shortbread.

Last year for a Sudol tree

Christmas has dozens of traditions associated with it, including the selection of a Christmas tree.

Sadly, one choice for people to get the perfect tree faces the end of the line.

For years, Frank Sudol and partner Lois Laycraft offered what they called a Christmas tree experience.

People travelled to the farm of Sudol and Laycraft, rode in a hay wagon from the couple's log home to the plantation of Christmas trees Sudol started, picked out their tree, and rode back to the house for hot chocolate and Laycraft's homemade shortbread.

However, Sudol died last year on Dec. 15. And since he is no longer around to do the work on the plantation, the Christmas tree experience is ending.

"This will be the last year," said Laycraft. She expects all the trees ready to harvest will be taken this year.

Sudol died just as the Christmas tree season was in full swing.

But the warmth extended by Sudol and Laycraft over the years was returned by friends and neighbours who pitched in to make sure people could get their trees.

"I am grateful for wonderful neighbours who arrived as soon as they heard of Frank's death ... and continued to help until Christmas Eve," said Laycraft.

"They will be here again this year." The couple wasn't even sure what they would do with all the trees when they planted them - with help from volunteers from Forestry Canada.

"We sort of thought they wouldn't amount to anything," said Laycraft.

But once the trees grew enough, a few friends and family members came by to get a tree for Christmas.

Then the couple thought they should sell them. To start, the Anglican Church at Christopher Lake sold the trees as a fundraising activity for several years.

"They stopped, but the people kept on coming," said Laycraft.

She and Sudol didn't want people to go without their trees.

This year marks the 15th year for people to get a tree from the plantation.

Trees still sell for $30 and that includes hot chocolate and Lois's homemade shortbread.

The best way to get to the farm from Prince Albert, said Laycraft, is take Highway 55 East and go just past Meath Park to the Candle Lake turnoff, go north until reaching the road to Paddockwood, then go west about five kilometres until reaching Old Harris Road. Turn right (going north) and the farm is just a short way in and the first right.

For questions or more information on what days and times are good to go, call Laycraft at 989-4621.

bglass@paherald.sk.ca




Although Frank Sudol was widely known as a woodturner, his Christmas tree plantation led to his involvement in many other activities. One year, said his partner Lois Laycraft, when Sudol was president of the Canadian Christmas Tree Growers, Regina's fire chief banned real Christmas trees in public buildings, including churches, and suggested the use of artificial trees instead.
That caused controversy, because a real tree is important to many, such as Lutherans, said Laycraft. Sudol flew into the fray and held a demonstration in a parking lot with the fire chief in attendance to show artificial trees burn faster than real ones - and spew vile smoke. Laycraft said the fire chief rescinded the ban immediately.
- GLASS

Organizations: Anglican Church, Prince Albert, Canadian Christmas Tree Growers

Geographic location: Christopher Lake, Highway 55 East, Meath Park Candle Lake Paddockwood Old Harris Road

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  • Von
    January 17, 2012 - 13:02

    For some unexplained reason, I was thinking about Mr. Sudol (Frank) yesterday. Fond memories of him coursed through my mind. You see, the time I knew Mr. Sudal was during my high school years, about 35 years ago. He was my science teacherand our nature club leader. His attitude towards life and our association with the earth was infectious. Our nature trips were numerous, to the mountains, on river trips, to walk on glaciers. He tought me to open my eyes. To view things, events, people in a way I have never experienced. It is difficult to put into words...do not have absolute unquestionable faith in any thing. Always question, be inquisitive. Above all he was about truth. He did not tolerate lies. He especially cared about kids.Us kids.....so long go, but brings a tear and heavy heart to know he is not here with us phycially. You will always be with me in spirit. I thank you, Mr. Sudol for the gifts you have bestowed upon me. Von

  • Fran
    November 20, 2009 - 02:48

    Thank you to Jim Johnson for your comments about my dear brother Frank. I wanted to comment earlier on this article but was afraid of going on internet.Then I remembered Frank who was not afraid of doing anything.
    Frank was truly a great man. I will always remember how rough and tough life was on the farm when we were growing up. Frank always made life for us seem lighter. We had many fun times with Frank. I can't imagine life without Frank then. I was and am very proud to have Frank as my brother. Just wanted you to know Frank did have family who were very proud of him and his accomplishments. We miss him very much.

  • Fran
    November 19, 2009 - 01:23

    Thank you to Jim Johnson for your comments about my dear brother Frank. I wanted to comment earlier on this article but was afraid of going on internet.Then I remembered Frank who was not afraid of doing anything.
    Frank was truly a great man. I will always remember how rough and tough life was on the farm when we were growing up. Frank always made life for us seem lighter. We had many fun times with Frank. I can't imagine life without Frank then. I was and am very proud to have Frank as my brother. Just wanted you to know Frank did have family who were very proud of him and his accomplishments. We miss him very much.

  • Jim
    November 18, 2009 - 16:09

    Frank was a great man and I have warm memories of Frank and the Christmas tree industry in Saskatchewan and across Canada. Anyone who knew Frank would know that an average day with Frank was an adventure. From his work with the Saskatchewan Christmas Tree Growers' Association, to becoming the first President of the Canadian Christmas Tree Growers' Association west of Ontario, to the Christmas tree burning demo in Regina (it was the Mayor who told the Fire Chief to stop his nonsense about banning real trees) to trips to BC, Manitoba and the Maritimes to see and visit Christmas tree growers, every adventure with Frank was sure to provide some insight into life and to result in sore ribs from laughing.

    And of course there were all the other things that Frank was involved in to. A great man who will be missed.