Intergenerational Community Garden Mural

The Cause

Canterbury Foundation has given the "Promise of Home" to Edmonton seniors for over 47 years. As a registered not-for-profit licensed supportive living facility with a seamless continuum of care, Canterbury has a unique retirement structure, offering three living options, a variety of healthcare services, recreational programs and a wide range of amenities that support a wholistic approach to senior care to age-in-place. There is no private ownership, and no profit margin from resident leasing. All money that flows through Canterbury is re-invested into infrastructure, programs, and services that care for the emotional, physical, mental and spiritual needs of residents. This approach enables Canterbury to be so much more than four walls.
Canterbury's Project, The Intergenerational Garden Mural, is a window into life at Canterbury and the deep relationship they share with the community of Laurier Heights. Imagined as at a "Community Hub" by Canterbury's board decades ago, this mural will look out over the community, reflecting the lives well lived inside Canterbury, the history of one of Edmonton's oldest neighborhoods, and how the two have shared space, cultures, knowledge, and stories together for over 47 years. Happily, a talented local artist, skilled in community/urban terrain murals was already known to Canterbury residents as part of a U of A based Dementia Care research team assisting Canterbury. She was asked to submit a proposal to lead the artwork, which was accepted in Spring of 2021. Involvement is widespread. Virtual art classes with residents (lead by Jill) are complete, and Canterbury has partnered with the Laurier Heights Community League, Laurier Heights school and local MLA's to survey what landmarks/activities mean the most. Now, those images will be intertwined with Jill's unique style, urban terrain mixed with the passage of time through generations. (example attached) An Oil Canvas will be painted by Jill (rough draft attached) then photographed at high density and reproduced into 14 4x8' panels, to be installed on the exterior of Canterbury Heights (the newest assisted-living space at Canterbury and now the tallest building in Laurier Heights) Images, words and stories gathered from residents and the neighborhood will be a focal point for the community to share.

Who Will it Benefit?

The aim is to create a sense of unity for residents and community as the project unfolds, and ultimately add to the rich history of heritage artwork in our city. When we hone in on the design itself, the black and white frame of the mural will be a reflection of Canterbury resident art work, stories and words that encompass their memories. (The art workshops are in alignment with Canterbury's current Memory Care programming, recalling experiences for residents living with Dementia) Knowing that a small piece of a family legacy is embedded on a public artwork as a preservation of history is so significant for those loved ones connected to Canterbury. At the same time, as a resident of Laurier Heights, to see a depiction of community life in your own neighborhood is so unique! Many Edmontonians are aware of murals that Jill Thomson has completed before. She has worked on many public art and community projects in City Hall, and the Alberta Foundation for the Arts. Her artwork uses a neighborhood vernacular, creating a built environment of houses, buildings and local businesses integrated with natural spaces, gardens and ravines. She often opens up buildings to show interior space: people gathering for a dinner, sewing circles, libraries and cafes. She has completed many commissions for individuals and has done public art projects with Nina Haggerty, Boyle Street and the Alberta Avenue community association to collaboratively work with individuals and community. Those close to the mural, living in the area and visitors alike will be exposed to this creative and visually rich depiction of history. The Intergenerational Garden Mural touches almost every corner of the neighborhood, and its theme of shared knowledge and wisdom over generations is a universal one.