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Noojimo’iwewin Gitigaan/Healing Garden

By stewarding the small greenspace adjacent to St. Matt’s differently, the Indigenouse People's Solidarity Group (IPSG) and Garden Crew volunteers seek to model how even small urban spaces may become sites of re-connection with Creation and respect for Indigenous spirituality.


“Our ways, of seeing and being on this earth, are much like the Hebrew people,” teach the Caretakers of our Indigenous Circle in their 2018 Calls to the United Church of Canada. “We can hear creation and have learned from all our relations, the animals, the water folk, the plant families, our mother the earth.”


Gifted the name Noojimo’iwein Gitigaan/Healing Garden by Elder Peduhbun Migizi Kwe at our Fall Equinox Ceremony in 2020, the green space is Toronto’s first National Healing Forests project, “a place for healing, learning, sharing, and reflection about Canada’s history and the legacy of Indian Residential Schools.”

Bee in bergamot and (right) first raspberry. (LJ Howse)

We are grateful to our 2023 Noojimo’iwewin Gitigaan weekly program partners, the Hippo Nursery School and The Stop Wychwood Open Door, both part of St. Matthew’s Community Hub. Special thanks to Anishnawbe Health Toronto, Miinikaan Innovation & Design, Friends of Bickford Park, and the Community History Project at Tollkeeper’s Park for their collaboration.


Generous funding from Park People, the Parkdale and Toronto Horticultural Societies, Canada Summer Jobs, and private donations plus the guidance of Elder Peduhbun Migizi Kwe/Catherine Brooks and the committed work of volunteers made the 2022 season possible.If you wish to volunteer in Noojimo’iwewin Gitigaan, contact Robin Buyers. Or watch for updates on Facebook.

Caring for Our Healing Garden

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Getting ready to taste the water 050723.jpg

Getting ready to taste the water (LJ Howse)

Noojimo’iwewin Gitigaan offers year-round opportunities to care for Creation, beginning with learning about the Land and its Waters in this place we know as Hillcrest Village. Yet you may think we have been slow to care for the Land this warm spring: many perennial plants are beginning to green up and the Dutch bulbs to flower, sometimes in unexpected places thanks to our always busy squirrel relatives. So why are beds are still covered in a winter debris of dried flower stalks and leaves? Well, many pollinators that live in the garden, as well as other small relatives, have not yet emerged into the spring sunlight from that debris. We won’t disturb them until the days and nights are warmer still.

We believe in cleaning up all human debris, however, so, please, join us in picking up those cigarette butts, fast food wrappers, and other garbage you find here and in other green spaces around our community and dispose of them. If you have a dog companion, try to stay with them on the sidewalk, making use of the telephone poles and light standards: what people have put in place is not harmed by dog urine the way plants are. Gardeners tending to urban plants will also thank you!

Please contact if you want to take part in the Garden Crew this season. Or just show up at a Work Bee and lend a hand. We look forward to caring for Creation with you.

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