The Medicine Wheel Garden in Hillcrest Park is Toronto’s first Aboriginal community garden. Truly a one-of-a kind sacred space, it has given the men of the Apaenmowineen program an opportunity to learn more about gardening and Aboriginal medicinal plants. The beauty of the Medicine Wheel Garden is undeniable with the colours and aromas of medicinal and culinary plants bathing the urban landscape.
Every Tuesday morning, the men meet to garden and improve communication, teamwork, healthy living, and employment skills. They reap the rewards of their hard work as the harvested plants are used to cook healthy meals for the Na-Me-Res residences.
The planning of the Medicine Wheel Garden began in the winter of 2012. In the spring of 2013, rocks from the Na-Me-Res sweat lodge were positioned to give the garden direction and identity. Vegetables, herbs, and medicinal plants were introduced with the guidance of medicine wheel teachings.
The Medicine Wheel Garden officially opened on August 13, 2013 when Elder Jacqui Lavalley named our garden, “Mashkikii;aki’ing” (Medicine Earth). Guests at the inauguration saw firsthand the beauty and promise of the garden.
The successful launch was followed by a Medicine Wheel Garden workshop in mid-summer 2014 where Apaenmowineen program participants each chose one of the four directions of the medicine wheel and spoke about the plants that grew within that quadrant. The men showed their passion while also demonstrating great leadership and community-building skills. The possibilities for growth in this garden come not only from the plants but also within the hearts of the participants and volunteers.
If you would like to support the Medicine Wheel Garden, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (416) 651-6750 x 2222.