Congratulations to our valued volunteer Lynda Lahteenmaa, on receiving a 2020 Spirit of Thunder Bay Award from the City of Thunder Bay. An accomplished gardener, certified horticultural therapist and Master Gardener, Lynda has shared her gardening expertise with the Gallery’s Garden Tour Committee. Over the years, Lynda has helped us find and share beautiful gardens in our annual Garden Tour. Thank you, Lynda.
An accomplished gardener and certified horticultural therapist, Lynda firmly believes that “gardening goes beyond cultivation of the soil.” It is a pursuit that promotes wellness, creativity and joy. Through her many presentations and horticultural therapy activities in the community, Lynda shares these enduring values.
The Thunder Bay Art Gallery has long collaborated with the Thunder Bay & District Master Gardeners on the annual Art Gallery Garden Tour. As a Master Gardener, Lynda has been an integral part of that collaboration. For 15 years she has volunteered her time and expertise with the Art Gallery’s Garden Tour Committee and in her quiet, persuasive way, Lynda has encouraged dozens of gardeners in our community to find joy in opening their gardens to the public. As Lynda explains, “Gardening is a divine and therapeutic activity, but sharing your garden and its secrets is communion on a whole different level. For this, I am so grateful to [the gardeners].” She adds that getting to know the garden owners and sharing their excitement as they welcome people into their gardens is very rewarding.
Lynda has over 20 years service as a Master Gardener. She has been a frequent presenter at teaching sessions organized by Thunder Bay & District Gardeners, at the Home & Garden Show, Seedy Saturday gatherings and other events. “I feel proud to be a Master Gardener spreading the joys of gardening,” she says.
Her gardening passion led Lynda to the study of horticultural therapy – a formal practice that uses plants, horticultural activities, and the garden landscape to promote well-being for participants. Working with management and staff at Hogarth Riverview Manor (HRM), Lynda established a horticultural therapy program for residents living with dementia. Her gentle leadership has also guided the creation of a significant outdoor garden that brings sensory joys – colour, texture and fragrance – into the lives of residents and their families.
Each year gardeners in our community look forward to the Art Gallery Garden Tour; and for the Gallery, it is an all-important annual fundraising event. We were devastated to cancel the 2020 tour due to the challenges of COVID-19. We anticipate bringing the tour back in 2021.
The garden tour couldn’t happen without the efforts of the generous and talented gardeners and committed volunteers like Lynda. Over the years she has helped keep the Garden Tour interesting and inspiring. We extend our thanks to Lynda. The Spirit of Thunder Bay Award is well deserved and beautifully honours Lynda’ contribution to our community.