Indigenous Garden to Bloom at Emmanuel College

Seeds of Hope in bloom… for real!

As part of its commitment to face and address the church’s role in harm to Indigenous communities, one of the country’s leading theological schools, Emmanuel College of Victoria University in the University of Toronto, will begin to install an Indigenous Garden on its campus this spring. Thanks to [a] Seeds of Hope grant from The United Church of Canada Foundation, the garden will be created in collaboration with Indigenous Knowledge Keepers and will be connected to the school’s academic curriculum through experiential learning, focusing on Indigenous cultures and relationship to the land. 

Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action called for schools of Theology to “develop and teach curriculum for all student clergy, and all clergy and staff who work in Aboriginal communities, on the need to respect Indigenous spirituality in its own right.” 

Not Simply Another Garden

“The Indigenous Garden at Emmanuel College is one way that we will contribute to reconciliation and right relations while deepening the experiential learning. At Emmanuel, we equip students to serve as ministers in churches, spiritual care providers in their Buddhist, Muslim, and other religious communities, chaplains in medical, military, penitentiary service as well as providing mental health supports as counsellors and spiritually integrated psychotherapists in various communities. Some of our students become theological educators, researchers and academic leaders. This type of learning from the land is so important in all these areas and to students and the people that they will serve and lead,” says Rev. Dr. HyeRan Kim-Cragg, principal of Emmanuel College.  

The new garden will surround the College’s Neo-Gothic style building at Queen’s Park and Charles Street on Victoria University’s campus. It will be ecologically sustainable with plans to grow Indigenous plants, as well as vegetables and wildflowers. 

“This is not simply another garden. Our Indigenous Garden is a tangible realization of our commitment to build relationships between and among Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples,” says Dr. Rhonda McEwen, president and vice-chancellor of Victoria University in the University of Toronto. “As this garden grows, it will remind us that the work toward truth and reconciliation changes in relationship with our seasons, environment, and each other. It will be a visible reminder that we all belong here – students, staff, librarians, faculty and alumni. This garden’s addition to our beautiful campus will be a place to connect, learn and reflect.”


The Foundation is excited to watch this project grow! You can also read more about Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples as a Foundation prioririty.


Emmanuel College, January 23, 2023 Indigenous Garden to Bloom at Emmanuel College [Press Release]


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