in the midst of a crumbling world, the vision of one flower.”
Tamiki Hara (1905-1951)
The beginning of our garden portrays the ruins of two stone walls, one built on top of the other.
These walls are symbolic of the barriers to peace that we have constructed endlessly in the same fashion, again and again. Over time these obstacles to peace and reconciliation will fall away but it will always be important to remember that they were once there. The paving and the plants surrounding the stone walls are arranged in a structured, formal fashion where colour and free forms are subdued and restrained reminiscent of a war memorial or a military cemetery.
From the ruined walls, a multitude of thick, brown pieces of twine lead to a human-scale wire globe which they encircle and tangle around before disappearing into the pond below. These “strings” symbolize our common histories and struggles, divisions, animosities and fears that we have woven within our cultures throughout the ages. It is these common threads of suspicion, persecution and conflict that entwine our histories together in such a challenging and difficult fashion all over the globe.
These pieces of twine re-emerge on the other side of the globe and combine together to form the seating surface of a long, curving cantilevered bench. This seating element is to symbolize that we can take our histories, our past differences and come together to create a place of peace and openness no matter how tangled and intricate our histories have been.
A long wooden deck will wind its way alongside all of these elements and as we move away from the ruins of our past the planting within the garden is allowed to become more vibrant, whimsical and colourful. The spirit of the garden becomes playful and hopeful. It becomes a place to explore and a place in which to dream and to leave the fixed path of history.
Featured within the life sized globe are individual messages of peace from children from an inner City and suburban school in Toronto whose backgrounds are made up of many different nations and races. Our greatest resource throughout time has always been our children, through them, we can transcend our past.
It is possible to create a world of beauty, openness, equality and belonging and it can happen in our lifetime.