On Tuesday, October 15, Holland Bloorview welcomed members of the Rotary Club of Toronto – Forest Hill, as well as the Consul-General of Japan in Toronto, Takako Ito, to its Spiral Garden to plant six Sakura trees generously donated by the group.
Toronto area-philanthropists Chako Setoyama and James Matsumoto along with fellow Rotarians gifted the trees to Holland Bloorview as a gesture of gratitude for hosting forty guests for a celebration of culture and diversity earlier this summer. Among the guests were nine students from the Support Our Kids program, a not-for-profit organization aimed at providing support and nurturing children affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011.
“The event held in July was a very memorable day for me and so many at Holland Bloorview who had the opportunity to participate in the activities with the Support Our Kids and Spiral Garden campers,” said Julia Hanigsberg, president and CEO at Holland Bloorview. “We are so grateful for this generous gift that will serve as a reminder of the celebration of diversity and our growing relationship the Japanese community and Toronto Rotarians.”
Students from Holland Bloorview’s on-site school, the Bloorview School Authority, participated in the tree planting ceremony, enthusiastically shovelling dirt and watering the new plants.
“These cherry trees will grow with your tender loving care. I sincerely hope that these trees will continue to grow and thrive as our friendship and goodwill between Japan and Canada will also flourish for long years to come,” said Takako Ito, Consul-General of Japan in Toronto.
The trees were planted in the hospital’s Spiral Garden, which was also the site of the festivities held this summer. Spiral Garden is an integrated outdoor art, garden and play program that brings children with and without disabilities to foster an inclusive community. The children from Support Our Kids participated in the camp for one day with other Spiral Garden campers.