The morning after Canada Day, the rain, rain went away, the sun beamed gently, and something both new and unique was added to the Ottawa scene. The Humanics Sanctuary and Sculpture Garden, just beyond Cumberland Village, opened its gates to the public.
First a trickle, then a steady stream of cars soon filled the large parking lot. Volunteers greeted and guided hundreds of visitors. Young and old, families and friends explored the wooded, nine-acre terrain — contemplating some sixty sculptures reflecting many of our world’s rich array of faiths, cultures, ideas and ideals.
The sculptures, created by artists in many countries and curated by Dr. Ranjit Perera, are carefully placed in natural settings — some on level ground, others down the side of a ravine amid a near-rainforest of trees, bushes, ferns and lush moss. Nature and art are in harmony, each complementing the other. The lovely Buddhist area offers a tranquil space for meditation.
Positive energy was the mood of the day, with walkers quietly nodding and smiling. The presentation lends itself to self-guided reflection, providing lots of space for contemplation. One definition of ‘sanctuary’ is ‘a place of refuge and protection’ — in this case, an escape from the distractions of getting, spending, and being entertained.
With such an ambitious initiative there are gaps yet to be filled, and perhaps completeness is unattainable. But the sanctuary and garden give the National Capital Region a new attraction, facility and resource, while already presenting a physical embodiment of the three-fold Humanics vision — the oneness of creation, the equal dignity of human life, and the interconnectedness of all creation.