Jiimaan’ndewengadnong Pocket Park and Canoe Art Installation

The name of the new pocket park was created by the community:  Jiimaan’ndewengadnong (“The Place Where the Heart of the Canoe Beats”)  is a beautiful Mizi-Zaagiing Anishinaabeg phrase translated by Elder Mary Taylor and Jack Hoggarth, Cultural Archivist, both from Curve Lake First Nation.

Summer of 2019, we broke ground to create the pocket park, with the help of local businesses and volunteers. We had over 50 volunteers come out, rolled up their sleeves, and worked hard to create this healthy, natural space. The art installations ‘Nibi Jiimaan’ by Tia Cavanagh, is the centerpiece to the Jiimaan’ndewengadnong park. There was a beautiful opening ceremony to celebrate the occasion. Tia painted a beautiful, antique, 15ft cedar-strip canoe and creating an artwork wrap for the electric transformer box that are both located in the garden. There will also be audio available of canoe stories from several local storytellers who generously shared with us what the canoe means to them. These stories will be available thanks to Impact Communication. They will also be available in the park via a phone number on the plaque (coming soon) thanks to Nexicom.

In the Jiimaan’ndewengadnong site, instead of asphalt, there are 100 square metres of green infrastructure (rain garden) that act as a sponge for rainwater and run-off water from Water Street. This rain garden was designed to soak up the water and naturally filter it slowly through the soil. Areas like this one can help reduce the intensity of urban flooding and can filter out
pollutants before the water reaches the waterways. The Jiimaan’ndewemgadnong Pocket Park and all the Downtown Vibrancy Projects are chosen and designed with input from the community. This feedback is gathered through dotmocracy votes and social media hashtags, which helps decide the locations of new projects. We also hold public design sessions where we discuss the elements of the projects that are important to people.

Thank you to our project partners:
This kind of remarkable, authentic project doesn’t happen without a lot of collaboration and
generous support. Thanks to the support of Lett Architects, Engage Engineering, Tree House
Timberworks, Accurex, Coco Paving, Ralph’s Paving, Nexicom and Impact Communications,
Alderville Black Oak Savanna, The Food Shop, The Silver Bean café, and many more. The space
itself has been generously made accessible to the public by Euphoria Wellness Spa, and the art
installation was also generously sponsored by Kim and Mark Zippel. This project is also part of a
larger movement led by Green Communities Canada and their national Depave Paradise
Initiative. Funding for this project was provided by the Ontario Trillium Foundation.