City of Charlottetown Inaugurates Aboriginal Garden Display at Confederation Landing Park
A 2011 Cultural Capital of Canada Initiative
(Charlottetown, July 25th, 2011) As part of its 2011 Cultural Capital of Canada designation, the City of Charlottetown, The Native Council of Prince Edward Island and the Mi’kmaq Confederacy of Prince Edward Island inaugurated today an Aboriginal Garden Display on the waterfront at Confederation Landing Park.
The display is an artistic, horticultural rendition of the Medicine Wheel, a symbol shared by Aboriginal Peoples across Canadaand abroad. It includes carvings by Charlottetown artist Levi Cannon Whitebear, and Councillor Francis Jadis of Abegweit First Nation. The four colours of the Medicine Wheel are represented by flowers and plants, and an inviting bench, with special engravings in Mi’kmaq, English and French, is placed in its centre. Each of the four paths leading to the bench is adorned with a carved plaque holding a special saying and animal carving.
“Plants are not only beautiful, they’ve been used for centuries as medicine,” said Mayor Clifford Lee. “I am so pleased with the unique design of this garden, a tribute to Aboriginal Peoples and our Mi’kmaq heritage, at Confederation Landing Park. I hope residents and visitors will use this meditative new space as a place to think about our past and our future while enjoying the panoramic harbour view.”
The content and design of the display are the result of a collaborative work between the City, the Native Council of PEI and the Mi’kmaq Confederacy of PEI, with valuable contributions from several members of the community, including Levi Cannon Whitebear, Georgina Knockwood-Crane, Georgina Francis and Judy Clark, President of the Aboriginal Women’s Association of Prince Edward Island.
The inauguration took place this afternoon at Confederation Landing Parkand included entertainment by the Lone Cry Singers, tasting of Aboriginal foods and remarks by each of the partners in the initiative.
“The Native Council of PEI is proud to collaborate with the City of Charlottetownand the MCPEI on developing the Aboriginal Garden project funded by Cultural Capital of Canada,” said President and Chief of the Native Council of PEI, Jamie Thomas. “It is wonderful to provide a peaceful place in Charlottetownwhere all our relations can gather to honour the contributions of Aboriginal Peoples in Canada. This garden will serve as a reminder to all Islanders and visitors of the importance of sharing our culture and traditions.”
“Today is a celebration of the Mi’kmaq culture, right here on the waterfront of Charlottetown.” added Sandra Gaudet, Executive Director of the Mi’kmaq Confederacy of PEI. “I can see that this will be a place for everyone to come and learn a part of the rich history or even simply to sit on that beautiful bench and look out at the boats coming in and out of the Charlottetown harbour.”
The construction of the display was completed by City Parks, Public Works and Beautification crews. Residents and visitors to the Capital and Birthplace of Confederation are invited to visit the garden and enjoy the surrounding peace and beauty.