Category Archives: Quebec 2016

Jardin Botanique Montreal

5 June 2016

The Garden of First Nations was cultivated by the Cree, Algonquin, Attikamek, Innu and Naskapi. These people were hunters and gatherers who lived in conifer forests that were near water. These types of “gardens” became community sites for reunions, trade and celebrations. These areas were also designed to be gateways to the country where they can hunt, fish and gather. Miichiwaahps (conical tent), innu-mitshuaps, pikokans and wigwams were also built in these “gardens.” The water was a very important part of the garden because they would build canoes to commemorate the dispersal of families over the territory.

Garden bridgeACather

The Japanese garden was split into sub-gardens which includes a tea garden and a rock garden. The whole point of a garden for the Japanese was to capture the shibui (simple beauty) of nature. This explains why rock gardens were popular because the gravel was raked to represent ripples in water. This also explains why wood parts were untreated, so they can remain as natural as possible. Tea gardens simultaneously captured shibui and defined Japanese culture, as tea was a very important aspect to the culture. These gardens involved tea ceremonies and bonsai courtyards in order to signify a high standard of living while sustaining shibui.

Religious people take gardening seriously because it is a way to express divine will. In other words, people feel like they are closer to their deity/deities when they promote the beauty of the stuff those deities created. An increase of spirituality is also seen, as being able to customize non-manmade stuff makes people feel like they are showcasing the power of their God/Gods.

Using the Bible as an example, we had to take care of the Garden of Eden. In other words, we had to maintain the beauty of a place that God created. This applies to the whole world, as it is our duty to study and care for all living beings, including plants. Using Buddhism as an example, bonsai trees were cultivated in order to represent spirits. These two religions share the common belief that we need to take care of plants.

– Haner Lim

I had a wonderful time exploring the beautiful gardens today. I have a love for plants and flowers and everything green, so this trip was very special for me, considering it is considered to be one of the best gardens in the world! While visiting I went to several different gardens but I really enjoyed the First Nations Garden, the Japanese Garden and Alpine Garden. I started by going to the First Nations Garden, it was beautiful and interesting! The garden was made to create a space where cultures of the indigenous populations of Canada are represented. The beautiful trees, shaded paths and plants beautifully represent or display culture, identity and artwork.

Koi pondAnother garden I went to and LOVED was the Japanese Garden. It was full of some of the most beautiful plants ever. This garden also represents an interesting history of Japanese culture. They have a Koi pond, traditional Japanese art and many other details that add to the relaxing and peaceful environment of the garden.

Religious people have taken gardening seriously because it often helps people relieve stress or anxiety. It is also a way to get close to the earth and God’s creation. Getting on your hands and knees, taking care of the earth is an easy way to focus on God, self-care, and prayer. In the Bible God talks about how he asks us to take care of His creation. Gardening, planting, watering and nurturing the earth is doing exactly that.

– Olivia Resto

La Fontaine de Tourny at parliament building, Québec City

Montreal Urban Agricultural Fair

  1. May 2016

At the urban agricultural fair, I had two roles; I was security and a replacement.  As security, my job was to let people and cars through the barrier that were setting up booths for the fair and to prevent other cars from driving through the street while the fair was being set up and going on.  I was wearing a green t-shirt to signify that I was a helper, so I had a lot of people come ask me questions about where to go to find certain things or what exactly the fair was for.  A struggle with this job was that some of the people (especially some older people) did not speak any English, so when they asked me a question I could not give a good answer; I would occasionally talk to someone that spoke only French that would be frustrated with me because I could not speak French, LaurenSecurityVolbut thankfully that did not happen very often.  As security I also greeted people as they came and went from the fair, and I counted at each hour of my shift roughly how many people were at the fair.  As a replacement, I walked around the fair for about an hour and asked any of the volunteers if they needed anything like water or a break to use the restroom.  I also went around and counted the number of people for one of the security people so she could record it without having to leave her post.

There were several interactions that I would like to share.  The first interaction was early this morning at around 8 am when there were cars trying to get through so the people could set up their booths.  I approached a car that was stopped in front of the barrier and he started to explain, in French, what his booth was or why he needed through.  I smiled, apologized, and said I am sorry but I do not speak very much French.  The gentleman laughed in a light way and said, “No French, huh? How old are you?”  I replied that I was nineteen years old and currently learning French and he said, “In five years I expect you to be completely fluent in French.”  I smiled and said, “I’ll do my very best!”  The gentleman smiled and laughed, and I moved the barrier so he could get through to set up his stand.  Another interaction I had was with a woman that spoke both French and English very well.  She initially started talking to me in French after I said bonjour, but I apologized and told her that I did not speak very much French.  She smiled and said no problem; she spoke English extremely well, which was really neat after hearing her talk so fluently in French.  Then the woman asked me what exactly the fair was, and I explained that it was an agricultural fair that the Masion de l’Amitie organizes each year.  I said there are presentations, food, and plants that people can watch or buy, and that the fair is just an attempt to make the city a little greener.  She smiled and thanked me for my help and continued on her way.  Although both of the interactions may seem fairly commonplace, they were both similar in several ways and were interactions I had not yet experienced during my time here in Montreal.  First, both of the people were asking for my assistance in some way, and secondly they both initially started out talking to me in French after I said hello in French; fortunately, both quickly realized that I could not understand them.  They were both new experiences for me because I have not actually had a real conversation with any of the people here in Montreal, so it was nice to be able to talk to them and help them with any questions they had.  Also, during my time here I have been so used to asking other people for help when it comes to getting around, so it was really nice to be able to be a part of the agricultural fair and feel like I was helping out.

-Lauren Harris


In our neighborhood, La Maison de l’Amitié was responsible for organizing the urban agricultural fair. As a volunteer, my job lasted from 7:30 – 9:00 a.m. on Saturday. The work consisted of getting tents and four water bottles to the proper areas, setting up the stereo for the microphone, putting the tents up, providing a chair at each tent, and cleaning up the front of La Maison de l’Amitié. Basically, I was the right hand man for one of the people in charge. Though I do not know why I was chosen, hopefully the person felt my help was sufficient. Whenever he needed something completed, he would always look at me. The fair was ready for attendees, and it did not disappoint. There were probably hundreds of people in line for free plants, free compost, and mango.

AgricFestVolunteersAfter my shift and breakfast, it seemed like the best thing to do would be to see if additional help could be provided. This must have been a good idea, because Lauren and Alli needed assistance greeting people into our event. It was the perfect opportunity to practice my French speaking skills. Most of my conversations were basic; however, like “hello”, “how are you”, and “have a good day.” Most people appreciated my attempt to speak in their language. They would say “merci” or use another phrase that I did not understand. At first, I could not pronounce “bonne journée,” but I figured it out later on in the day.  A vegan lunch was provided for volunteer members at 11:30 am.  Overall, the urban agricultural fair went well for the street of Duluth, in my opinion. It made the city even more green and beautiful. The atmosphere was light-hearted and everyone seemed happy.

-Jared Jordan