Ontario Parks Association   
Protecting Tomorrow Today®




Frequently Asked Questions

What do you do with a Peace Garden?

A Peace Garden has endless uses, the only limit being your creativity! It is a great place for you to encourage students to solve conflicts peacefully by encouraging them to sit down on the benches and talk about their problems. You can also use it as an outdoor classroom. What better way to teach students about trees, animals and ecosystems than in a garden! The garden makes a great space for creative expression through music, acting or artwork. Host a concert or social in your garden and showcase your students' talents. 

Does the garden have to be a new planting?

No. Every school has a different way of creating a Peace Garden and not all include starting from scratch. You can choose an existing garden, grove of trees or bench and upgrade or build off that area to make your own Peace Garden if starting from scratch is not feasible. For example, a school in Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada removed the pavement from their playground and replaced it with a Peace Garden. A dozen or so local mines donated large ore boulders for their garden, and they planted small fragile arctic plants around the rocks. 

Do you have to make the garden accessible to the public?

It is up to each school as to how they handle the issue of public access. We find that as the students become involved in the program, they invite their parents, family, and neighbours to visit the garden, to see its progress and their role in it. This is a great way to spread the message of peace as well as raise awareness for your school's efforts.

Most schools find that visitors respect what has been achieved and often participate by giving something back. If you are worried about destruction, put up signs that talk about the purpose of the garden and ways to show respect. 

How do you plan a dedication ceremony? 

There is complete autonomy with regards to the dedication ceremony. We encourage you to invite people from your community to attend so that they understand the role of the Peace Garden. With sufficient notice a representative from Ontario Parks Association would be happy to attend your dedication ceremony and present you with a dedication certificate. Just email us opa@ontarioparksassociation.ca to make arrangements to have someone attend. 

Some schools will rededicate their Peace Garden annually so as to introduce new teachers and students to the Peace Garden concept.

What is the objective of a Peace Garden?

When you establish your Peace Garden, it is recommended that objectives similar to those shown below become part of your dedication ceremony. This will allow everyone to understand its purpose and role in the school or community and take ownership of the garden.  

  • Dedicate, maintain and nurture the Peace Garden as a symbol of hope for the future and your school's commitment to peace - encouraging peace among yourselves and your school community, peace within the global family and peace with nature.
  • Respect the environment and promote by example.
  • Encourage curriculum development which includes cross-cultural understanding, environmental studies, and alternative conflict resolution.
  • Introduce conflict resolution methods. 
  • Celebrate peace, the environment, and cultural diversity in your garden. Use it as a space to learn about the heritage of the students and faculty of your school, and community. Welcome and share your place of peace with other members of your community. Nurture the soil through scientific knowledge and environmental protection of the local eco-system. Celebrate peace through music, dance, language arts, sculpture, symbols, design and other art forms.
  • Extend programs that are developed to include municipal 'Peace Parks' as a link to the community.
  • Invite other schools in your area to establish their own Peace Gardens. In some cases, schools have donated a 'first tree' to another school in their area to get them started.  

How do you maintain a Peace Garden over the holidays?

You could create a schedule for students, parents or community groups to take turns to water and care for the garden during the summer months. Contact your local parks and recreation department, horticultural society or garden club to help or provide information on caring for plants over the summer. 

How do we expand our Peace Garden?

This varies depending on the school board and land regulations. Set up a meeting with your board's grounds maintenance team, the principal, the staff and the local municipality.

Rather than plant the whole garden at the same time, some schools have chosen to develop the garden in stages over a period of several years. We suggest that you develop an overall plan and then section it into modules for each stage of development. 

Depending on how much land you have, you will need to consider the future impact regarding soil type, drainage, access to water, etc. If land is in short supply, there are other alternatives.  How about a roof garden or developing part of an existing local park into a School Peace Garden? 

Ontario Parks Association

7856 5th Line South · RR4 · Milton · Ontario · L9T 2X8 *

Phone: 905-864-6182 · Toll Free: 1-866-560-7783 · Fax: 905-864-6184

Email: shelley@ontarioparksassociation.ca or training@ontarioparksassociation.ca

(*Note: If you are mapping our location, enter Halton Hills, not Milton, as the city)


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