Carol Shields Memorial Labyrinth
The Carol Shields Memorial Labyrinth, located in historic King's Park, honours the legacy of a Manitoba born Pulitzer Prize-winning author in an environment designed for meditation, healing and reflection. The motivation behind the Carol Shields Memorial Labyrinth project transpired through the convergence of three distinct ambitions for the space: a built labyrinth, a meditative garden and a memorial tribute. This project is about an ordinary community, working together, building a unique space that meanders through native perennials, ornamental shrubs, engraved bricks and boulders. Features include a gathering area with interpretive signage, an engraved quote wall, a healing/meditation garden and paved pathways. Combined, they create a unique, accessible memorial that evokes the author's past while inspiring the walker's future.
From the onset of the process, the design committee believed in thinking big and the client was prepared to raise funds as necessary to realize the dream. As a result, the project was built in phases from 2008 to the fall of 2009, individual design elements were built and added as financial resources became available. The labyrinth's interior features were built first, laying the foundation of the space. Next, a gathering area for physical and emotional preparation for the labyrinth experience was built. And lastly the engraved quote walls arose, evoking the writer's work and underscoring the meaning of story in all our lives. The interpretive signage was also erected at this time, highlighting Shields' career and acknowledging the groundswell of public support that spurred the project to completion.
The lively site is used for weddings, community gatherings, author readings and many other special events. Friends and family wholeheartedly agree that Carol would indeed approve.