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Gaze up into some of Stanley Park's grandest trees – and find out how to tell your cedars from your firs – on the Stanley Park's Champion Trees Discovery Walk, a leafy walking tour led by biologist Maria Morlin.

In addition to seeing some of the park's biggest and oldest specimens – one fir began its life centuries before European contact – participants will also learn about how the trees have adapted so they can better survive blustery ocean winds and fire.

"For example, Douglas Fir has really thick bark; it's about 15 centimetres," explains Ms. Morlin. "And I call it 'groovy' because it's got grooves and they're very fire resistant. So a lot of the oldest trees you'll find are Douglas Firs."

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The tour will also cover the importance of nurse logs and wildlife trees, and the unique attributes of Western Red Cedar that make it the material of choice for everything from siding to storage chests.

So how can you tell a cedar from a fir? "The cedar doesn't have needles; it's got scaly leaves – and it has drooping branches that go up at the end, so I call them smiley branches," she says. "So you can even distinguish them from a distance just by looking at the branches."

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