By Lisa Rainford
It is with a mixture of excitement and disbelief that Florian Shuck will officially unveil Canada’s first-ever public reflexology footpath in Dufferin Grove Park on Saturday afternoon.
He’ll be joined by family and friends of his and late-partner, Jenna Morrison for whom the footpath was created and named.
“At one point, it was just a dream of my wife’s; now, it’s a reality,” Shuck told The Villager a few days before the event on July 26. “It’s quite overwhelming.”
Shuck is at the park regularly to oversee the path’s installation and this week, the finishing touches. Changes are happening daily, he said, and expressed his awe for the landscape architect and construction team’s skill set and compassion for the project.
It was key to create a public memorial for Morrison in the park the couple and their young son frequented, because, Shuck said, “Jenna was always compassionate and seeking to contribute to the greater community she was part of.”
Morrison, a 38-year-old expectant mother, yoga instructor and health practitioner, 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.
The reflexology path captures Morrison’s spirit, Shuck has said.
“It relates to our life story.”
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. Inspired by this notion, Morrison dreamed of creating such a footpath in one of Toronto’s public parks.
Her dream is about to come true. Shuck said he hopes the path, in Morrison’s honour, will evoke people’s sense of “engagement, compassion and health.”
Asked if the footpath has turned out they way he had hoped, Shuck said, “Absolutely.”
“It has exceeded my expectations as Jenna always did as well. It’s very special.”
The footpath is situated at the south end of the park near Gladstone Avenue and Sylvan Street. With the support of Davenport residents and the City of Toronto, the footpath was built to honour Morrison while also providing a permanent park amenity for all Torontonians to enjoy, according to local councillor Ana Bailao.
“This is a great addition to the neighbourhood,” Bailao said . “It’s great to be able to join the family in this special moment.”
Some of the features of the path include thousands of stones of various sizes and shapes to stimulate and massage the feet as well as a seating area boasting a grove of gingko biloba trees providing a contemplative experience.
The unveiling of the Jenna Morrison Reflexology Footpath takes place Saturday, July 26 at 2 p.m.