Aven Manor's new-look garden. Laurissa Cebryk/Cabin Radio
An “outdoor oasis” at Yellowknife’s Aven Manor seniors’ facility opened last week, designed to provide residents with a safe and enjoyable outdoor space.
Sara Fullerton, Avens’ director of finance and project lead, told attendees at a grand opening for the garden: “We’ve all been stuck indoors for too long.”
Fullerton called the garden, completed with the help of volunteers from De Beers, a space that “allows everyone to gather, connect, and make memories.”
Avens says the back garden of Aven Manor was previously inaccessible to many residents because of tree roots and stumps, low garden beds and general debris.
After nearly 250 volunteer hours, the outdoor oasis boasts a tranquil fountain, level asphalt, raised garden beds, bright colours and a fully enclosed gazebo.
Nearly 20 tree stumps were removed from the area.
“You could really feel the sense of pride coming from the team, being here and working on all of these things,” said Fullerton.
The garden also has barbecues and a smoker. Avens president and chief executive Daryl Dolynny said food services supervisor Lawrence Malaque uses them to smoke traditional fish and caribou meat, to provide culturally appropriate meals for residents.
“I’m most excited about all the colour here,” said Fullerton. “This is a really fun space. It’s very happy and it is really calming, especially with the sounds of water.”
Despite those efforts, smoke from a nearby wildfire prevented any of the residents from attending Friday’s ceremony.
Fullerton said residents had, however, spent the past week enjoying the space.