Thursday, May 19, 2016

Nathan Phillips Square Peace Garden

Toronto Mayor John Tory rededicated the Peace Garden at its new location close to Osgoode Hall during a ceremony on May 18, 2016. The Mayor was joined by Peace Garden founder Father Massey Lombardi, the Consul-General of Japan, Yasunori Nakayama; Hiroshima Peace Ambassador Setsuko Thurlow; Chair of the Toronto Interfaith Council, Zul Kassamali; and Toronto Poet Laureate Anne Michaels; Parliamentary Poet Laureate George Elliott Clarke. A smudging ceremony was carried out by tribal elder Cat Crieger and the Jarvis Collegiate Institute Choir performed during the event.
Originally located near the middle of Nathan Phillips Square in a small urban forest, the garden was created as a memorial to the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Toronto's commitment to World Peace. The late Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, father to our current PM Justin Trudeau, turned the first sod for the original garden. The stone-clad gazebo, fountain and eternal flame were moved to the new site as part of the major revitalization project which also saw the statue of the late Prime Minister of Great Britain Winston Churchill moved as well. And they didn't break the roof, it was left unfinished to signify how fragile society is.
The history of the garden is quite astounding. Pope John Paul II lit the flame from an ember that originated from the Peace Flame in Hiroshima and poured water into the fountain that came from a river in Nagasaki. Finally, the monument was dedicated by Queen Elizabeth in 1984.

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