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Reclaiming Space - kinistinâw Park (CA - AB)

Tuning into The Urbanist: Park life podcast and I found this gem and wanted to do a deep dive into the project, collaboration and history. See what I found and my reflections listed below.


The kinistinâw Park highlights a family pattern, Tiffany Shaw's grandmother's Metis floral beading pattern, which is fastened to the underside of the red canopy and extends end-to-end down to the ground. The family pattern weaves together kinistinâw; identity, connection, spirituality and history.

kinistinâw is plains cree for we three

The idea behind "we three" highlights the 3 histories of the site, referring to the Indigenous, Chinese and colonial history. The site is closely located to the old China town in Edmonton. The street in which the park is located was also formally called "Kinistino Avenue" which is an anglicized spelling of kinistinâw. Missing from the site are connections to the local Indigenous history and identity, the opportunity for Indigenous identity to be woven into the buildings, structures, public space and fabric of the city.


The name led the project, symbolizing a braid, weaving together individual histories and identity, and bringing them together for a strengthening of identity, belonging and inclusiveness. The family pattern woven throughout demonstrates cultural erasure while also highlighting cultural resilience of Indigenous peoples, regardless of time and space.


The reclaiming of space allows and enables people to feel something greater than themselves in a space, to seek belonging, connection, community and in other cases rest and reprieve. The revitalization of space fortifies and restores existing and former relationships within community, to bring recognition, reconciliation and new future together.


Key Reflections

  • What are the untold histories and connections to space that can be uplifted, revitalized and acknowledged?

  • How can you implement TRC Calls to Action in public spaces?

  • What are your community needs and desires for public space and how can they be mobilized through different park strategies and solutions?

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