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Photograph by Bob Brink

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The Heart Garden

by Edmund Saunders


(Labradorite stone)

Government House, St. John's

50 Military Road, St. John's, NL A1C 5W4

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Her Honour, the Honourable Judy M. Foote, Lieutenant Governor of Newfoundland and Labrador, established the first Heart Garden in the province in memory of the Indigenous children lost to the residential school system and honour the survivors and the legacy of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. Heart Gardens are about Honouring Memories and Planting Dreams.

Located on the grounds of Government House, the Heart Garden was designed in consultation with MUN Botanical Garden and Indigenous groups. It comprises five planting beds containing traditional plants used by Indigenous people for food and medicinal purposes, and five benches inscribed with names of the five Indigenous Governments in Newfoundland Labrador: Innu Nation, Miawpukek First Nation, Nunatsiavut, Nunatukavut, and Qalipu First Nation. The centre of the garden is a heart carved from Labradorite by Innuit artist Edmund Saunders.

Follow the link to find out more about the sod-turning ceremony (2018) and the official unveiling (2019) of the Heart Garden.

Artist bio

Edmund Saunders was born in Hopedale, Nunatsiavut in 1976. He began his art career in 2007, and was taught by Jacko Jararuse of Nain. He prides himself on using stone mediums that many other artists shy away from and find too challenging. He also creates affordable memorials for Inuit people who otherwise could not afford one. His favorite shapes are drumdancers, bears and eggs.

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