Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Royal Jubilee Hospital Gardens

Wheelchair accessible
Metered parking and Parkade

This post is a little bit of a departure from the typical parks I've been visiting to date.  BUT it is a surprising little oasis of green and calm in an unexpected spot, and its a public space, which is what Pint-Sized Parks is all about - finding nature in the everyday.  Truth be told, I've had these pictures sitting in an album on my Google drive for a few weeks now, trying to pull together as much historical research as I could before sharing with you, but life has been busy ... and this is really a lovely little spot you should visit before the summer is done, so I'm sharing what I have with you now.

We don't normally associate parks with hospitals, but when construction began on the new Royal Jubilee Hospital there were plans to restore the old chapel (designated as a Heritage building), and the original Pemberton operating room.

Through a combination of fundraising by the Alumnae Association of the RJH School of Nursing and the Parks and Recreation Foundation of Victoria, the original Pemberton Chapel was restored and the Heritage Garden on the level just outside the Chapel and Operating Room was created, and opened in 2007.   As you can see in the photos, the Heritage buildings and Gardens have been preserved, and the new Hospital has been carefully built up around the site.
Plantings in this upper garden are formal in nature, but punctuated with plantings of native species, and surprising touches such as a "permanent" ladybug placed on the water fountain.

On the lower levels of this courtyard garden, is a Japanese garden dedicated to Dr. Inazo Nitobe.  He was a Japanese statesman and scholar who dedictated his life to "being a bridge" across the Pacific and spent much of his life promoting trust and understanding between North America and Japan.  In 1933, he fell ill and died at Royal Jubilee Hospital, and this park commemorates his life and life's work.  In this spirit, the garden itself was a collaboration between Paul Allen of Victoria and Takashi Fujimura of Morioka.

Funds for this garden were raised by the Victoria-Morioka Friendship society, and the garden was officially opened in 2013.  A commemorative stone with an inscription honouring Dr. Nitobe sits at the entrance to the garden, which then moves up the hill through a water feature to the Chapel.  

The gardens at RJH - before! (source
The gardens on both levels were designed to be restorative and therapeutic, and on any given day you can find nurses, doctors and patients alike enjoying a quiet moment away from the hectic pace inside.  The days that I was there were the close of busy days, and it was a treat to bring a bag dinner and decompress to the sound of the waterfall in the Nitobe Garden.  I highly recommend stopping in here if you are visiting loved ones at the hospital, or even if you are just passing by!



Heritage Garden at Royal Jubilee Hospital Opened, Parks and Recreation Foundation of Victoria, 2007