Memorial reflexology footpath in Dufferin Grove Park set to receive first steps by July

Construction set to begin in spring; various community events supported vision

Bloor West Villager
By Lisa Rainford 

Canada’s first-ever public reflexology footpath is set to be built in Dufferin Grove Park this spring.JMMF_BW_Villager.JPG

The city’s Parks, Forestry and Recreation department expects to hire a contractor by April with construction scheduled for May and June and a completion date in July, according to Davenport Councillor Ana Bailao.

The reflexology footpath is being built in memory of Jenna Morrison, a 38-year-old expectant mother, a yoga instructor and health practitioner, who was riding her bike on her way to pick up her five-year-old son from school when she was struck and killed by a truck at the corner of Dundas Street West and Sterling Road in November 2011.

“Jenna was very active in this park. It is the park we most frequented as a family,” her partner Florian Shuck told The Villager.

Designs for the footpath were unveiled at a meeting last month. The meeting was the culmination of a series of events, which included a fundraising kickoff event hosted by Morrison’s family and friends and Bailao’s Ward 18 community barbecue last fall.

“I would like to thank Jenna’s family and friends as well as Parks, Forestry and Recreation staff who helped make this incredibly unique and meaningful project a reality,” said Bailao in a statement.

The footpath will be situated at the south end of the park near Gladstone Avenue and Sylvan Street.

“This is really a park amenity. It’s much more than a memorial,” said landscape architect Howard Nauboris of Cosburn Nauboris Ltd., the firm that won the bid to design the footpath. “Florian does not want a big sign that says ‘Jenna Morrison’.”

This is because Shuck said he would like it to belong to the community, however, it will incorporate Morrison’s initials.

The community, said Nauboris, is “excited” about a new reflexology path in Toronto.

“It was important to me that we found a place in the park that wasn’t disruptive to the other programs in the park,” he said.

The footpath will be 60 feet long and 20 feet wide. Inside each of the two infinity loops, there will be two separate gardens with a handrail around each loop. There will be a rock element that will stand the height of a person.

“This is a very Asian thing to do,” Nauboris said.

Before Nauboris and Shuck embarked on the project together, the two went for a reflexology treatment together. They relied on the expertise of a local reflexologist for advice.

“In Asia, people get together in the mornings in these parks,” Nauboris said.

The reflexology path captures Morrison’s spirit, Shuck said.

“It relates to our life story,” he said.

On a visit to Seoul, Korea in 2001, Morrison, who lived in the Dundas Street West and Sorauren Avenue area, discovered the widespread popularity of reflexology footpaths throughout Asia. Struck by this notion, Morrison dreamed of creating such a footpath in one of Toronto’s public parks.

“For me, my son, it’s a landmark that will help us come to terms with acceptance and loss,” he said.

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Article originally posted on insidetoronto.com

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