Pickering gets federal cash to transform Esplanade Park into ‘Meditation, Mindfulness and Music’ space

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Published July 27, 2022 at 9:19 am

Meditation, Mindfulness, and Music will be the message at Pickering’s Esplanade Park when a portion of the downtown park is transformed into a public space for people to practice self-care and reflection as we transition from two years of pandemic living.

“Vibrant, sustainable, and accessible public spaces are critical towards building a strong and connected community,” enthused Pickering Mayor Dave Ryan, who was on hand for the funding announcement Sunday. “I am confident that this new, innovative, and engaging park will become a prominent and popular destination for our residents and visitors seeking reflection, inspiration, and serenity.”

Spirit of Pickering by Geordie Lishman

Ryan, Pickering-Uxbridge MP Jennifer O’Connell and other dignitaries unveiled the details of the changes to the park July 24, which will see new pathways, gardens, seating, shade structure, playable musical instruments, and new permanent artwork installed as part of the second phase.

The City received provincial support in 2018 through the Main Street Fund to complete Phase One enhancements to Esplanade Park. This included the installation of several pieces of permanent public art, including four sculptures by artist Geordie Lishman (‘Spirit of Pickering’) and two sculptures by artist Ron Baird (‘Pollinators.’) Other upgrades such as landscaping and seating) were completed in 2020.

Phase Two funding ($350,000-plus) is coming from the federal government, with $255,375 from FedDev Ontario through its Canada Community Revitalization Fund and $95,000 from the Department of Canadian Heritage’s Commemorate Canada Fund for new artworks at the Chestnut Hill Developments Recreation Complex and a celebration event.

The new public artwork at the park will be ‘Reflections’ by artists Studio F Minus, which will further tie into the overall theme of mindfulness and meditation.

Contemplative spaces will also be provided to remember the victims of the COVID-19 pandemic including those living in long term care facilities such as Orchard Villa and the heroic efforts of first responders and front-line workers throughout the pandemic.

“The creation of a Meditation, Mindfulness, and Music Park is the perfect example of federal involvement in reimagining and revitalizing public spaces in our towns and cities to make them more accessible and more engaging,” said O’Connell. “The work will commemorate those who we lost during the pandemic while honouring our first responders and healthcare workers who did so much to keep us safe. I am proud to see federal funding going towards such a wonderful project in Pickering and very excited for what the completed space will bring to the area for residents and tourists alike.”

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