Take time to savour the slow pace of nature in the midst of the city. Learn about Indigenous culture and traditions. Inhale the sweet scents of an edible and aromatic garden. All this and more awaits you at The Leaf – Canada’s Diversity Gardens in Winnipeg, the first garden attraction to tell Canadian cultural stories through plants.
Opening at Assiniboine Park on July 9, the Gardens at The Leaf consist of six themed outdoor gardens where you can explore the connections between nature and culture. (The space also includes an indoor component, a multipurpose building called The Leaf, which is slated to open in late 2022).
“Our vision is to create a place where people can connect with nature in a way that explores the human connections with nature across cultures over time,” says Laura Cabak, Assiniboine Park Conservancy manager of Communications and Public Relations. “We really want to bring the space to life through engagements and events and create a space where people feel safe to share their stories and cultures. Nature and plants are common ground that brings us all together.
“Assiniboine Park is a must-do for anyone coming to visit Winnipeg. We have a lot to do and see – you can spend an entire day here exploring. These new gardens are a wonderful addition. Through this past year, when so many things were closed, people discovered a new appreciation for gardens and green spaces and what they do for our mental health.”
The Indigenous Peoples Garden is a gathering place that celebrates Indigenous cultures. “The Indigenous Peoples Garden is a special place,” Cabak says. “We engaged with Indigenous designers, elders, knowledge keepers and other community members. It was their experience and knowledge that really helped the garden take shape. We want to make sure the Diversity Gardens are a place where all feel welcome. Creating an Indigenous peoples’ garden is important to that ongoing process of ensuring we create a space that reflects our community.”
The Kitchen Garden includes garden beds with rotating crops, an outdoor oven, and spaces for garden demonstrations and educational programs;
The Sensory Garden includes aromatic plant species;
The Performance Garden features an outdoor stage;
The Seasonal Garden showcases a diversity of plant life;
And The Grove is dedicated to trees.
And as Gillian Chester, Tourism Winnipeg Communications and Travel Media manager, says: “Now is a great time to come explore, because we have this exciting new outdoor attraction. It’s the perfect addition to your Winnipeg bucket list. It’s a really beautiful nature-focused space, and it’s a significant horticultural attraction for North America.”
The outdoor gardens are open to the public and free to visit.