A number of invited guests were on hand at Providence Farm on Oct. 10 for the ribbon-cutting for the new labyrinth garden, including North Cowichan mayor Jon Lefebure at left, front, and Chis Holt, executive director of Providence Farm at right, front. (Robert Barron/Citizen)

Providence Farm unveils new labyrinth garden

Created with the help of a $20,000 grant from the Victoria Foundation

Alicia Taylor’s face beamed with joy when the ribbon was finally cut to officially open the new labyrinth garden at Providence Farm on Oct. 10.

Taylor, a nature-based therapy program coordinator at the farm, has been the main organizer for the labyrinth project since it was first envisioned about a year ago.

She said Providence Farm hopes its labyrinth garden will be a therapeutic, safe and accessible place for program participants and community members to experience the power of a labyrinth to evoke self-awareness, contentedness, and acceptance.

“It’s a setting that also fosters the habitats of native plant species and vital food plants, as well as plants specific for their therapeutic benefit,” Taylor said. “Its purpose is to evoke calm, inward contemplation.”

Paid for by a $20,000 grant from the Victoria Foundation and designed with the help of Camosun College’s horticulture department, the labyrinth garden is expected to enhance the farm’s world-class horticulture therapy program.

Drawing on the image of a fiddlehead fern, the five-circuit labyrinth is wheelchair accessible and is designed to allow easy access to the centre for those unable to make the journey along the circuitous route.

The labyrinth garden was unveiled in front of a large crowd of dignitaries and other guests on World Mental Health Day on Oct. 10.

Chris Holt, Providence Farm’s executive director, thanked all the companies and organizations that helped supply much of the material to build the labyrinth, and the volunteers who spent countless hours preparing it.

The Vancouver Island Providence Community Association operates creative and innovative programs at Providence Farm for people with mental health issues, brain injuries, and developmental disabilities and challenges.

The Sisters of St. Ann, who operated a school on the 400-acre site for 100 years, gifted the entire property and buildings to the VIPCA in 2009.



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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Alicia Taylor, a nature-based therapy program coordinator at Providence Farm, developed the idea for a new labyrinth garden at the farm. (Robert Barron/Citizen)

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