Plant for peace

The Peace Garden, a memorial for the shooting as well as a reflecting and relaxing zone for students

By: Jennifer Hughes

Planting for the Peace Garden began Sept. 21 and runs until Sept. 24 from 9-4 p.m. Students, faculty, and staff who are interested can sign up on the board which is located to the left of Conrods.

The Peace Garden is a new garden being built on Dawson’s campus between Wood Avenue and Sherbrooke. It is a memorial for everyone involved in the Sept. 13 shooting. Although the garden was constructed in 2010, a flowering almond tree had already been planted on the site in memory of Anastasia De Sousa on the first year anniversary in 2007. The flowering almond, which is centered in the middle of the garden, is the only tree that will be planted.

“We’ve been planning [the project] for two years,”said Cindy Elliott, Project Manager of Sustainable Dawson. It took eight months to get a permit to build on the land, she explained.

Due to the delay and with only three weeks left to plant before winter begins, only 20% of the plants will be planted this year. The rest of the planting will continue next year. The garden will be finished by next June at the latest and will be done in time for the fifth anniversary of the Dawson shooting.

“I think it [the garden] was a great idea because it shows that our school was able to survive such a horrible event,”Harisha Kapoor, second semester Child Studies student, said.

The garden design was created by Malaka Ackaoui, a Montreal-based landscape architect who has done work with peace gardens before. The services were offered as an in-kind contribution; the team did it of their own initiative without being paid, Elliott explained.

From there the contract to construct the garden was given to Jardin Nova. “We plan to start moving the plants out Monday and Tuesday and placing them,” Elliot said, “Thursday and Friday we’ll do the actual planting itself.”

Seventy percent of the plants will be native to the area, most of which will be perennials, plants which come back annually. A lot of them will be planted “so that they’re closer together and they’ll develop root systems that will hold in the moisture so that we don’t have a lot of weeds growing up in between them,” Elliot said.

Photographer, Roger Aziz, is creating a photograph documentary and film-maker, Adam Reider, is making a video documentary of the Peace Garden. Both are Dawson graduates.

“Not only is it a peace garden but at the same time it’s a place to teach people about planting and ecosystems,” said Wai Bong Shum of the Plant and Facilities Department.

“The goal is to bring the community together,” Elliot said. The garden will also serve as a place for students to go to reflect and relax.

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