Toronto Will Move Tree to Accommodate Man’s Religious Beliefs

Here’s an absurd story to start your week.

The City of Toronto has been forced to move a tree on a North York resident’s front yard to accommodate his religious beliefs.

Sanjeev Joshi previously asked the city to move the tree because he argued its roots would damage his driveway and because the its aesthetics would be compromised as a result of pruning to avoid overhead wires.

Those requests were rejected, so he played the V-card. Joshi argued that the maple tree’s positioning violated an ancient Indian system of architecture, Vastu, that dictates trees shouldn’t be planted directly in front of a home’s main entrance. Having a tree in front of an entrance disrupts “nature’s energy for well-being of family,” Joshi explained.

Vastu Shastra

Vastu Shastra

Despite opposition from the city’s forestry department, council voted 19-7 in favour of moving the tree.

“There’s a fairness argument here. If we have a series of tests that every Torontonian can rely on being applied equally, why does this guy get an exemption and the next person who makes an application not?” said Councillor Gord Perks, who voted against the motion.

Councillor John Filion, meanwhile, said it was a “really reasonable request.”

When the city is going out planting trees, which I’m all in favour of, maybe don’t stick it in the middle of a lot, because there are people with religious beliefs about the tree being right in front of their door,” he said.

It will cost around $1000 to move the tree, which has been given a chance of survival in the high-90 percent range.