Toronto Mayor John Tory along with the Consul General of Japan, Yasunori Nakayama, Hiroshima Peace Ambassador Setsuko Thurlow and Peace Garden founder Father Massey Lombardi participated in a rededication ceremony on Wednesday to officially open the relocated, enhanced Peace Garden. It is situated in the landscaped area on the west side of Nathan Phillips Square.
“Nathan Phillips Square is where Torontonians and visitors from around the world gather to share memories, to protest, to mourn, and to celebrate community,” said Mayor John Tory. “It’s wonderful to be here today to open The Peace Garden with so many members of Toronto’s faith communities. The Peace Garden will be a lasting symbol of the collaborative relationship between the many and diverse faiths in our city.”
The opening of the enhanced Peace Garden marks the completion of the Nathan Phillips Square Revitalization Project and serves as an important memorial and a lasting testament to peace.
The new Peace Garden is organized around a reflecting pool and set between two elevated planting areas filled with flowering trees and native plants. At the centre is a granite bridge that spans the pool and connects to the relocated pavilion nestled within the trees. At the north end of the pool is the rekindled flame, which sits in a vessel of water that cascades into the reflecting pool.
Other special guests who participated in today’s event were Zul Kassamali, Chair of the Toronto Interfaith Council, Toronto Poet Laureate Anne Michaels and Parliamentary Poet Laureate George Elliott Clarke.
Father Lombardi, the person responsible for establishing the Peace Garden, lit the Flame of Peace in the garden today as he did 32 years ago when it first opened. In 1983, after Toronto was declared a nuclear-free zone, Father Lombardi approached then Mayor Art Eggleton about the possibility of the City of Toronto building a monument identical to the one that His Holiness Pope John Paul II visited in Hiroshima.
Subsequently, Pope John Paul II kindled Toronto’s Flame of Peace on September 14, 1984. The Peace Garden was officially opened by Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth II on October 2, 1984, during Toronto’s 150th anniversary year. – CINEWS