Spirit Tree, 2008

The 7.6 metre iron and steel Spirit Tree, glistening next to the Clock Tower, reflects the spirit of the community. 

Designed by Fernie artist Michael Hepher and Cranbrook architectural blacksmith Paul Reimer, it weighs more than a ton and sits on footings more than two metres deep. "The 32 tree roots represent the people who came before us. The roots come together to create a powerful single trunk representing community," says Reimer, who has been a smith since he was 15. "The myriad branches contain gazing balls; if you look up into them, you see yourself reflected in the spirit of the tree." While many groups and individuals in Cranbrook contributed to the project, it would not have been created without the significant contributions of local realtor Sharron Billey. She wanted to commemorate 100 years of Cranbrook Agencies' presence on Baker Street. Says Billey, "I love art and history is important to me. I wanted to give back to the community that has been so generous to me. I look at that tree from my office and it is beautiful in every kind of weather."