Tending our garden

by julia.hanigsberg | November 18th, 2010


Ryerson has been recognized for one more way that we bring life to downtown Toronto. I recently attended a ceremony at City Hall with Adrian Williams, Manager of Custodial Services, where we had the pleasure of accepting a City of Toronto Special Recognition Award for our university’s beautiful gardens.

A garden is far more than just plants, shrubs and trees. First, it’s a place where nature intersects with art – in our case, through the vision of Ryerson alumnus David Horowitz, a Business graduate who gave back to his alma mater with his remarkable design talent. A garden is also a living, changing place that needs constant tending. Ours is cared for by six terrific groundskeepers who make sure everything always looks its best.

It was this dedicated team, assisted by a few custodial volunteers, who planted some 200 mums in just four hours to prepare our campus for fall convocation. Our groundskeepers bring the same thoughtful attention to nurturing the lawn in the quad – for day-to-day recreational use by everyone in our community, and especially in spring and fall, as our graduates and their families and friends enjoy that beautiful setting as a backdrop to their graduation memories.

Our garden is also a gift to the community. A place to eat a hotdog from a street vendor or a lunch brought from home. A shady refuge on a hot day, or a spot to enjoy the last bit of warm sunshine as fall fades into winter. A respite from the urban context that we all enjoy but sometimes like to escape for a few minutes.

Above all, our garden is an emblem of our pride in Ryerson’s campus as a place to be enjoyed by everyone – students, faculty, staff, neighbours and friends. Those flowers and shrubs remind us that a university is a community that nurtures its members and tries to provide moments of enjoyment and grace for all to share.

So heartfelt thanks to our marvelous groundskeepers for the care they put into our gardens. Thanks as well to the City of Toronto for recognizing our gardens’ beauty and the contribution they make to the city. And while we’re at it, let’s thank each other for helping to create a campus environment that’s far more than buildings and pavement. By making room for flowers and trees, for the human dimension embodied in a freshly cut expanse of lawn, we remind ourselves of all the other ways we can work together to make our university a sweeter place to learn, work and connect.

It’s all about tending our garden.

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