The Joseph Dominik Sensory Garden is a therapeutic garden that provides a dedicated area of sensory rich stimuli of smells, touches, tastes, movements and sights. Named in memory of Ongwanada past president and former board member Joseph Dominik, the garden is the first fully accessible sensory garden in Kingston, and possibly Ontario, of this size and scope. The garden will provide many therapeutic, educational and recreational benefits to individuals with varying levels of physical and developmental disabilities, as well as others in the community.
In the garden, you will find herbs and edible plants to stimulate your taste buds; brightly coloured flowers and a variety of shapes to catch the eye; sweet smelling flowers and aromatic herbs to tickle your nose; a mixture of textures for your fingers to explore; and a symphony of water, blowing grasses and chirping birds to please your ears. It is a safe, interactive environment for all ages and abilities.
Individuals with moderate to severe disabilities benefit from being outside in the fresh air and enjoying the sounds, sights, smells, feel and tastes of the plants and other garden features. Currently, there are few outdoor experiences accessible to this group of individuals due to accessibility and transportation issues. Through the use of wide, concrete walkways and raised beds, the Joseph Dominik Sensory garden is accessible to all.
However, the benefits of a sensory garden go far beyond those with moderate and severe disabilities. Those with less severe disabilities enjoy the opportunity to participate in the care and maintenance of the garden offering them additional educational, vocational, recreational and physical benefits of gardening. Ongwanada clients have been involved in every aspect of the garden from planting the seeds to caring for the garden to harvesting seeds, herbs and flowers for use in crafts and other initiatives.
The Sensory Garden is open to the public and free to use.