RoncyWorks Green Team Profiles
To mark Garden Days 2018, the Roncesvalles Village BIA is showcasing the dedicated community members who maintain our sidewalk gardens and beautify our vibrant street.
Abby Bushby is the Chair the Friends of Dundas Roncesvalles Peace Garden organization and a volunteer gardener with Roncy Works. She maintains the Peace Garden located at the eastern corner of Roncy and Dundas.
The Peace Garden was constructed in 2016, “after a few years of research, advocacy, community collaborations, artistic planning, and drumming up of support.” This collaboration included a partnership with the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation, who have designated the Peace Garden as a “place of heritage and continued interest through the Moccasin Identifier Project.
According to Abby, advocating for the Peace Garden was about beautification and commemoration. “Gardening at the Peace Garden grew out of a wish to green and beautify a sad and sterile intersection at Dundas and Roncy with an odd, concrete jut of land,” said Abby. “The Peace Garden celebrates the historical origins of this portion of Dundas Street, as both an Indigenous path, and as a military road for the Battle of York 1813.” In addition to the historical significance of the Peace Garden, Abby also appreciates “nurturing the native species of trees, grasses and floral plants, as well as the companionship of other Peace Garden and RoncyWorks gardeners.”
One unique attribute of the Peace Garden is how it features indigenous sacred plants and art engravings, known as the Peace Path. “We continue to work with Indigenous partners to grow and illustrate traditional Indigenous agriculture. Last year it was a Three Sisters Mound of corn, beans, squash, as taught to us by growers at Six Nations of the Grand River. This year we are growing sacred tobacco from seeds gifted by a woman from Sheguiandah First Nation, and planted by Chief Stacey Laforme of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation.”
Maintaining the Peace Garden and its public square is raft of challenges, due in large part to its location and popularity. “Maintenance of the Garden presents some challenge. Maria Kolos and I sweep up butts and pull coffee cups out of the plant beds. We clear furniture and advertisement clutter from the displayed community arts projects.” However, receiving compliments on the Peace Garden and explaining its purpose to visitors makes all of the maintenance worth it. “More rewarding though, every time we garden, one or more passersby stop to say ‘thanks’, and to chat about the purposes of the Peace Garden, which enriches us all. In every conversation we learn a little, and impart a little more appreciation of public, streetside garden for a greener community.”
Learn more about the Dundas Roncesvalles Peace Garden here.