Laura and Julia are not just any mother-daughter family duo. What they share is a special bond with the Garden that has blossomed over the years, leading them to volunteer here at TBG.
Laura started visiting the Garden in middle school, where she found a sense of freedom among the plants, trees, and ravine. “There was a feeling of safety being surrounded by this beautiful environment,” she says. With such a profound belief in the TBG, Laura knew that she had to share the space with her own children. “When Julia and her sister were babies, their grandparents would bring them here all the time,” she says. “It has always been a place that our family has come to during different stages of our lives.” Julia recalls her own memories of walking through the gardens and admiring all the different colours. “You realize just how much diversity there is and how beautiful an urban green space can be,” says Julia.
Families like this grow alongside the TBG, using the space to celebrate life’s greatest moments. From retirement parties to graduation photos, Laura says that “the Garden supports them.” Not only is the Garden itself special, but so are the interconnected surrounding spaces. “We use TBG and Edwards Garden as a passageway to get to Wilket Creek and Sunnybrook Park — it’s a great link to the rest of the park system,” says Laura. The TBG is part of the city’s fabric — growing with people as Toronto continues to expand. “The changes over the seasons are nice to observe,” says Julia. “That’s the special thing about outdoor spaces; each day it’s different.”
While the plants and flowers are rightfully recognized, Laura couldn’t contain her excitement for the inside of the building. “There’s so much to do and so much to learn about. For example, floral arranging — I’ve never arranged flowers before in my life but loved it! I met some amazing people, too,” she says.
Memories made at the Garden flowered into something stronger, a deeper connection to this urban green space through volunteering. “Being able to garden and share the experience with others really interests me,” Laura says. “I love learning from horticulturists, about plants and gardening, and meeting other people who have similar interests.”
For Julia, she has always been interested in nature and sustainability. After studying engineering, she knows that her path forward will involve sustainable building or agriculture. “It’s important for people to get outside and connect with nature,” she says. “It’s important to gain an appreciation for the natural world, building a desire to protect it.”
After renewing their family memberships, these two women have found a great sense of belonging to the group. “It’s nice to be a part of this team that’s working towards a common goal,” says Laura.
The TBG would like to thank all the wonderful mothers for everything they do. May your time in nature and with your families continue to grow like the flowers in the Garden.