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Commemorative Tree for Mike Nevin

In the fall of 2022, we were saddened to hear about the passing of Mike Nivan (aka Compost Mike). Mike was a constant presence at the Market, showing up every Saturday for over a decade, to promote peace and harmony in the world and to sell his compost.

To celebrate Mike’s life, community members contributed funds for a commemorative tree. Thanks to everyone’s support, the Michael P. Nevin Commemorative Tree has been planted across from the playground where the market is held. Now Michael can keep watch and enjoy his beloved park.

The tree is a bur oak, because Michael himself said it reflected his personality – unbendable, but with rounded, not sharp, leaves and “not too showy”, because bur oak changes from green to brown, without being bright yellow or red.

On the plaque is Michael’s favourite line from Les Misérables by Victor Hugo. Michael spoke of it as his life motto. Listen to it in Michael’s honour, with his most-loved line being sung at about 6 minutes.

 

“To love another person is to see the face of God”

– Victor Hugo

 

Michael spent his life advocating for both his own community, and for the world at large.

He was a devoted pacifist and came to Canada as a draft-dodger during Vietnam War. For the rest of his life, he fought for peace as a dedicated activist in global affairs, being a strong voice for nuclear disarmament while serving on the Hiroshima Nagasaki Day Coalition for over three decades. He was featured in The Peace Builder project by the prominent Canadian documentary and portrait photographer Michael Barker.  It would be hard to find a better description for Michael Nevin than The Peace Builder.

Michael was widely recognized for his generous spirit and innovative mind. Through his work as the Compost Facilitator for Foodshare Toronto, Michael received a Dedication Award from the Bhayana Family Foundation for community-based, mid-scale all-season composting.  His devotion to composting was confirmed when even till his last days Michael continued to roll out composting programs for Toronto District School Board properties and was deemed Toronto Food Policy Council’s Local Food Hero for his highly valued community work.