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Children’s memorial garden moving to the design phase

After two years of planning, the Children’s memorial garden is moving forward. Set to be built in Maskwôtêh Park in Grande Prairie, it will serve as a memorial for families who have lost a child. Tiny Hands of Hope President and Co-Founder Karen Gilkyson says she’s had a number of ideas for the garden, now it’s time to get them down on paper.

“We’re in the conceptual planning of it so we have come up with the ideas, we’ve put them together so we’re now in the process of finding a garden designer to get a design on it and get it into more detail.”

Tiny Hands of Hope was created by Gilkyson in 2003. The group’s goal is to help families who have suffered the loss of a baby during pregnancy or infancy.

Each September it holds a walk and used to give a shrub to families to plant at the end to commemorate their loss. The problem with that was that the trees ended up dying before they could be planted. Gilkyson says this garden will give parents another option to honour their child.

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“Some of our families were really upset that not only did they lose their baby they have now lost this shrub that symbolized their baby. So out of frustration, I said you know what would be incredible, to have a garden that families can go to honour and celebrate their babies that are not here… This will give families a place that they can go to and bring their living children and maybe have a tree for their child who has passed away.”

Gilkyson says the garden will also have flowering trees, interactive sculptures and a gazebo. As it is still early in the process a total price has not been set yet.

Gilkyson hopes to break ground this year. After that, she expects it will be a few more years before it opens to the public.

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