Trafalgar Medicine Wheel Garden

Photo of the medicine wheel garden at Trafalgar. A monarch rests on goldenrod.

The Sheridan Medicine Wheel Garden features four quadrants of native perennials surrounded by a circle of armour stone seating. Outside the four quadrants are the perimeter gardens with young trees and shrubs which will provide shade over time.

The garden is made up of mainly native plants as they are adapted to the local natural environment and provide nectar, pollen, and fruits for pollinators, including bees, birds and butterflies. The plants have been chosen to provide colour in spring, summer and fall; winter colour is provided by the evergreens and native prairie grasses. The three Indigenous sacred plants, sweetgrass, sage and white cedar, are also included in the garden. 

The Symbol of Medicine Wheel
The circular design is inspired by the First Nations’ Medicine Wheel to symbolize all things connected in the circle of life, on Mother Earth and within the universe.
The four quadrants represent the four directions, four seasons and the four dimensions of our well-being: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. The shape is rooted in traditional teachings that remind us to walk our life in balance.

Infographic of the breakdown of what is planted in each sector of the garden.

Significance of the Garden
This garden installation transformed the highly visible space from a site overgrown with invasive Buckthorn to a healthy greenspace that promotes biodiversity. 
This garden aims to provide the opportunity for the Sheridan and the wider community to learn about nature and the traditional teachings of the First Nations. It is a garden for all people and all living things. It provides a sacred space for healing, celebration and peace.

Plant Species in the Four Quadrants
To identify some of the species in each quadrant, please click on the link below:





About the Sheridan Medicine Wheel Garden Project
The Sheridan Medicine Wheel Garden project was completed and the garden was officially opened at the College’s 50th-anniversary celebration in October 2017.

The project included the installation of a Medicine Wheel Garden at an 8,200 sq ft site near the main entrance on Ceremonial Road at the Trafalgar campus, the delivery of two educational workshops “Trees and Bees Talks” and a volunteer planting day and a garden opening event.

The garden installation was the core part of the project. It involved the north and south plots finished in two phases. In November 2016, the north plot was completed with planting 11 native trees and fresh sod as well as installing a semi-circular armour stone seating and a crushed stone walkway. In August and September 2017, the south plot was completed with the First Nations’ medicine wheel design that has a circular shape featuring native pollinator plants and indigenous sacred plants, which are surrounded by armour stone seating and perimeter gardens with trees, shrubs and grass. As well, the crushed stone walkways installed are wheelchair accessible. A garden interpretation signage, 28” x 38”, was installed in the southwest corner. Over 75 native plant species are included in the garden.

Led by the Office for Sustainability, this collaborative project has incorporated ideas from the Sheridan community and the Centre for Indigenous Learning and Support. The project was supported by Facilities Services and Health and Safety departments. Oakvillegreen Conservation Association was the project partner.
The project was sponsored by the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation, Province of Ontario, Oakville Community Foundation, Spinton Roofing and Sheridan Alumni Office.