With a Twist: Create a Heart Garden in your Community!

What would a truly peaceful Canada look like?

Those who create a Heart Garden declare commitment to support healing and reconciliation with those who experienced Indian Residential Schools and their families.

A Heart Garden is a field of paper hearts affixed to garden stakes. Each heart represents an indigenous person harmed by the Indian Residential School experience. You can find further instructions here.


The Heart Garden project can be created at any time.

A big Heart Garden event will take place on June 2, 2015 at Rideau Hall in Ottawa. There and then children from the Ottawa-Gatineau area will gather at Rideau Hall, the Governor General’s residence, to greet survivors, the Commissioners of the TRC, and those with the responsibility of continuing the important work of reconciliation started by the TRC.  Each child will carry two hearts attached to wooden gardening stakes. They will plant one heart in a Heart Garden at Rideau Hall and they will share the other with an adult attending the formal closing of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.  Following a brief ceremony, a rendition of “Sing”, and the planting of the hearts, the children will lead a procession away from Rideau Hall to symbolize that children will lead us towards a future of reconciliation.

The hearts will be on public display on the grounds of Rideau Hall from June 4-7, 2015. The goal is to honour children lost to the Indian Residential School system and mark new possibilities in reconciliation.

Examples of hearts created for the Heart Garden Project.

Examples of hearts created for the Heart Garden Project. From developingaglobalperspective.ca

Let’s consider inviting Indigenous neighbours to join us in creating the hearts and planting the Heart Garden. If we are thinking of planting sacred medicines – in addition to the hearts – to create a more permanent recognition of residential school students and the shared commitment to reconciliation, we should consult with an Indigenous Elder.  Examples of sacred medicines are tobacco, sage, cedar, and sweetgrass. If we decide to plant sacred medicines, we must ask the Elder(s) how to care for the plants so that they can grow healthy and proud over the years.

If you create a Heart Garden, please register your garden with the project creators. If you have any questions, please contact Brittany Martell at bmartell@fncaringsociety.com.

Share photos of your garden online using #TRCHeartGardens

If you found out about the Heart Gardens project through us, please send photos to admin at peacquest.ca to help us inspire other communities!