Ontario and Manulife Join in Reconciliation Effort
New Ceremonial Medicine Garden will Provide Dedicated Space for Learning and Reconciliation
Ontario, together with Manulife and Indigenous partners, has taken another step on the journey to reconciliation with the dedication of a garden that will provide medicines sacred to many Indigenous peoples.
Today, David Zimmer, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation attended the dedication ceremony at the headquarters of Manulife in Toronto, led by Elder Gary Sault, member of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation.
Manulife agreed to host the space for the medicine garden to support a sustainable supply of sage and sweetgrass for use in The Gathering Rooms, which were opened in 2015 for use by the building's Indigenous employees and partners. The province is working with Elders, Knowledge Keepers and Manulife staff to ensure the garden is prepared and planted in a culturally appropriate way.
Supporting Indigenous culture is one of many steps on Ontario's journey of healing and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. It reflects the government's commitment to work with Indigenous partners, creating a better future for everyone in the province.
- Smudging is a traditional ceremony practised by some Indigenous cultures to cleanse or purify mind, body, spirit, and space. Sweetgrass and sage are the medicines most used in The Gathering Rooms, but tobacco, cedar, lavender and other medicines may also be used.
- The Gathering Rooms have a separate ventilation system that meets or exceeds building code requirements.
- The medicine garden is located in Manulife Financial at 200 Bloor St. East in downtown Toronto, just east of the Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation’s offices.
- Other organizations and locations with traditional medicine gardens include the University of Toronto, the University of Waterloo, the Royal Botanical Gardens, and Native Child and Family Services of Toronto.
“Ontario is committed to supporting the revival and growth of Indigenous culture and traditions. But we can’t do it all alone. That’s why I want to thank Manulife for joining with us in this project. By hosting this garden, Manulife is demonstrating that we all have a role to play in reconciliation – from the government, to the public, and in the corporate world.”
“Manulife is honoured to host a garden that will provide medicines sacred to many Indigenous peoples. Our hope is that the garden will be a source of reconciliation and inspiration.”
“The smudging room and medicine garden may seem like small steps to some, but this effort by Manulife and the Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation provides an example of how government and private business can work together to foster an area of knowledge and cultural exchange. There are no small steps when it comes to reconciliation.”