2022 Greener Greenspace Profile
Located in Regina, SK, Art Park is both a community space filled with murals and sculptures and sitting areas to relax as well as a food forest and pollinator/wildlife garden.
Design and Process
Art Park is a public park in a disadvantaged neighbourhood in downtown Regina. The park features colourful murals, sculptures and areas to sit and relax. The greenspace is an urban food forest as well as pollinator and bird habitat. Native plants are used as much as possible, and plantings are layered - annuals, perennials, shrubs, and trees. Fruit trees and shrubs provide flowers for pollinators and food for both wildlife and humans. Perennial forbs, grasses and herbs provide pollen, seed and habitat.
The park was landscaped to retain moisture from rainwater. Dense plantings and covered soil allow rainwater to be retained within the park rather than channelled away. To support birds and other wildlife, unpicked fruit is left on trees and shrubs over winter. To promote soil health, fallen leaves are left on the ground. Mulch is used to retain soil moisture, feed soil micro and macro-organisms, and prevent weed growth. Compost is applied to feed microorganisms and improve soil nutrient and moisture levels. Mycorrhizal fungi are applied to the roots of trees and shrubs when planting to enhance nutrient uptake. The soil is disturbed as little as possible (e.g. no tilling), and no synthetic pesticides or fertilizers are used. Pest management focuses on keeping plants healthy and the selective removal of pests and diseased plants. The habitat is inviting for birds and beneficial insects that then do most of the work to control pests. Invasive plant species are removed by digging and/or heavy mulching.
The park’s design and abundant vegetation support the City of Regina’s sustainability strategy that calls for increased biodiversity and soil carbon capture. The City is considering a ban on cosmetic pesticides; this restoration project provides an example of a public park that is organically maintained to enhance biodiversity and be a healthy, resilient greenspace that provides multiple community benefits.
The food forest provides a variety of fruit and berries, which is a food source for people in the neighbourhood who spend time in the park, many of whom are housing insecure. Under the guidance of an Organic Master Gardener and SOUL practitioner, Phil Johnson, the park is maintained by approximately one dozen volunteers from the Heritage Community Association who meet twice per month to develop and maintain the park. During the summer months, the community association's four summer staff were assigned to help with stewardship, including watering when necessary. Nature Regina and Wild Outside are other community organizations who provided support for the park restoration.
The garden is a work in progress. A lot was accomplished in the past year, but another season will see some big changes. This park project is unique in that it brings together an art park with various sculptures, a food forest, a pollinator/wildlife garden, and an attractive place for people to rest and relax. The improved greenspace will hopefully contribute to other neighbourhood improvements.
To learn more, visit the community association's website.
Greener Greenspaces is a recognition program for sites from across Canada that exemplify greener greenspace stewardship. The aim of the program is to showcase examples of ecologically-focused land care as a means to inspire others and to further the movement across Canada.See the full list of 2022 recognition recipients here