The Garden for Healing

COVID has been an exhausting and difficult journey. It’s also highlighted what truly matters in our lives; health and wellbeing, connection to others, enjoying the outdoors, to name a few. Visiting outdoors to minimize transmission of illness during COVID was something many of us embraced. Therefore, when LHPP’s Engineering and Infrastructure Manager, Graham Crouse, pointed out the challenges in the hospital’s main garden and asked if the Foundation could help, it only made sense.

At Lakeridge Health Port Perry, patients and their families, and our staff have much greater access to green space than at most hospitals. There is a garden behind the New Life Centre where many of us delighted in watching a mama fox with her pups this spring.  And, there is the main garden at the south side of the building, surrounded by patient rooms, all with a view.

This patient garden has been a labour of love for Gerrie Cooper, a tremendously dedicated volunteer gardener who tends it almost daily.  But over the years, the sprinkler system has failed, a number of the trees have died, and the bricks of the walkway and retaining walls have started to crumble making them unsightly, and more importantly, difficult for anyone with limited mobility to use the garden.  This space gives our community an area to visit, get some fresh air and take much needed breaks. We are delighted to announce its refurbishing and a new partnership.

A sub-committee of the Foundation’s Board of Directors and Lakeridge’s Capital Planning team, following a public procurement process, are pleased to have awarded the design contract to employee-owned GSP Group.  In step with the Garden Committee, GSP believes strongly in engaging with staff and physicians, hospital users, volunteers and others as an integral part of the design process.

GSP Landscape Architect Manager, Lori Balcerek shared the vision, “We can take advantage of elements like the existing mature trees for shade and the south-facing semi-enclosed micro-climate to make it a three-season garden, one that offers a healing space and is accessible to all.”

We are excitedly embarking on the design phase now, but this project will take time. It could very well be spring or summer of 2023 before we unveil the newly designed space, a healing garden that will enhance care beyond the walls of our community’s hospital.

To learn more or support Port Perry Hospital Foundation projects like the garden and the purchase of essential medical equipment at Lakeridge Health Port Perry, visit pphfoundation@lh.ca, call 905-985-7321 ext 45580, or mail to Port Perry Hospital Foundation, 451 Paxton St, Port Perry ON L9L 1L9.