Jiimaan’ndewemgadnong (The Place Where the Heart of the Canoe Beats)
October 21st, 2019
A Pocket Park Project Intertwined with Nature, Culture, and Anishinaabe Tales of the Canoe.
By Dawn Pond, GreenUP’s Downtown Vibrancy Project and Depave Paradise Program Coordinator
The Downtown Vibrancy Project is now in its second year and this year we hosted many design sessions with local residents, First Nations communities, and local business. We discussed what the canoe means to us all and how public art in our downtown could represent that connection.
In those design sessions, we heard about how Peterborough is known as Nogojiwanong (the Place at the Foot of the Rapids), which is part of the territories of the Michi Saagiig Anishinaabe Peoples. From popular paddling and portage routes, to canoe building, this area is rich with canoe history. The culture of the Michi Saagiig Anishinaabe Peoples and their traditional connection with canoe travel in this area were themes that our community felt should be represented more prominently in our downtown.
We are thrilled to see this partnership between the Downtown Business Improvement Area (DBIA) and GreenUP’s Depave Paradise project result in a new pocket park on the corner of King Street and Water Street. This new green space will soon also showcase two canoe-themed public art pieces created by local Anishinaabe artist Tia Cavanagh.
The name of the park was also created by the community: Jiimaan’ndewengadnong (“The Place Where the Heart of the Canoe Beats”) is a beautiful Mizi-Zaagiing Anishinaabeg phrase translated by Elder Mary Taylor and Jack Hoggarth, Cultural Archivist, both from Curve Lake First Nation.
As the Downtown Vibrancy Project Coordinator, I am privileged to have listened to many personal stories about canoeing and people’s connection to water. Some of these story-tellers gave permission to record and share their stories to a wider audience.
This kind of remarkable, authentic project doesn’t happen without a lot of collaboration and generous support. First and foremost, chi miigwech to Tia Cavanagh, Madeline Whetung, Shirley Williams, and Terry Musgrave for sharing their stories. Thanks to Nexicom and Impact Communications for donating their time and skills to make the audio interviews available. Thanks to the support of Lett Architects, Engage Engineering, Tree House Timberworks, Accurex, Coco Paving, Ralph’s Paving, Alderville Black Oak Savanna, The Food Shop, The Silver Bean café, and many more. The space itself has been generously made accessible to the public by Euphoria Wellness Spa, and the art installation was also generously sponsored by Kim and Mark Zippel. This project is also part of a larger movement led by Green Communities Canada and their national Depave Paradise Initiative. Funding for this project was provided by the Ontario Trillium Foundation. The Jiimaan’ndewemgadnong pocket park and Downtown Vibrancy Project are a partnership between the Downtown Business Improvement Area (DBIA) and GreenUP’s Depave Paradise project.
If you are interested in supporting the project by donating services or providing sponsorship please email Dawn Pond (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more details.