Healing Forest

The National Healing Forest initiative envisions creating a network of forests and green spaces across Canada, where Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples can come together in the spirit of reconciliation to heal, reflect, meditate, talk, share and build respect and understanding as a result of the Residential School legacy and the findings of the National Truth and Reconciliation report.

The Town of Gibsons has recently committed to establishing a Healing Forest within White Tower Park and the Charman Creek ravine. This initiative complements recent work by staff and Council to recognize, protect and enhance our natural assets, through a Tree Preservation Bylaw, the establishment of an Urban Forest Plan and the expansion of the stormwater retention ponds in White Tower Park.

In August 2020, staff presented a proposal for establishing a Healing Forest within Town boundaries to a representative for the Skwxwu7mesh Uxwumixw (Squamish Nation). The proposal will now be taken to the Nation’s Council Committee for further discussion.

In Q2 2021, staff met with a representative from the Syiyaya Reconciliation Movement to further conversations and build relationships.

In the third quarter of 2021, archaeologically significant Indigenous material was discovered during the expansion of the White Tower stormwater retention ponds. Staff are exploring options for the Healing Forest in light of this discovery.

While Healing Forests already exist in six provinces, a Healing Forest in Gibsons will be BC’s first.

Healing Forests in the Media

CBC Radio’s “All in A Day” Interviews Healing Forest Founders (12 minutes)

CBC NewsNova Scotia school fosters learning and reconciliation with forest path