Indigenous garden proposed for Kingston at former Sir John A. Macdonald statue site

WATCH: The proposal features two garden beds situated at the corner of West Street and King Street in City Park.

The Kingston Indigenous Language Nest has submitted an application to the city to build two community gardens.

The location: on the corner of King and West streets, right where the former Sir John A. Macdonald statue once stood.

The nest is hoping that these gardens, if approved, will provide some food security for Indigenous peoples while also growing three of the sacred medicines.

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“We’ll also be having the original names for plants. We would have those names that people could look at to learn language, and to get used to and know their relations,” said KILN Community Connections Co-ordinator Mandy Wilson.

The plan is to have two garden beds set up along the pathway on the corner of West Street and King Street at City Park.

This location is just steps away from where the Sir John A. Macdonald statue long stood before it was removed last year.

The move to install the Indigenous gardens here was made consciously in the proposal.

“It has had a lingering effect of the colonial legacy of Sir John A. Macdonald. A lot of people walk by there and feel uncomfortable. We want to create a space where Indigenous people can see their medicines being represented, their food being represented and pollinators being represented in the community so they feel safe,” added Wilson.

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The application for the community garden was submitted a month ago, kick-started by the findings of a study by the Canadian Institute of Health Research, showing that Indigenous people are disproportionately affected in their need for food sovereignty and public access to food.

The application is now being reviewed by the city.

“It’s currently in consultation. This is the neighbourhood consultation we do where we get feedback from the community in regards to the garden application that has been received,” said Amanda McDonald, supervisor of recreation and community development for the city.

There is no timeline on if or when this project will get approved but McDonald says the majority of the feedback received so far has been positive, showing that Kingston seems to be ready to start a new chapter at the southeast corner of City Park.

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