Leslie Cornell, owner of Cornell Design and Landscape in Moose Jaw, along with the team that created the Humboldt Urban Garden Sanctuary (HUGS), walked away with a national award from the Canadian Nursery Landscape Association at this year’s ceremony.  

The garden received the Green for Life Community Award, for the execution of the piece, which is a tribute to the 2018 Humboldt Broncos.  

Cornell was the project’s manager and says her involvement was a way to give back to the community.  

“I have a lot of customers and people that this touched a lot of their lives and this is one way I could give something back to the people and to help – I love helping people,” says Cornell.  

HUGS has numerous features within it that commemorate those that lost their lives and those that survived the horrific bus crash on April 6, 2018.  

“It has three large patios with a story behind them. One of the patios, the garden around the patio is designed to look like angel wings and that is the sunset garden. And then there’s the sunrise garden and that is to memorialize the 13 people who survived that crash.” 

“The third one has an art piece. With that art piece, it is a monarch and swallow tale butterflies that resemble how things change and the good that can come out of that change.” 

There are also pathways that lead you around through the gardens, large grass areas, regular and wheelchair-accessible picnic tables, and seat wall areas for sitting.  

This garden includes hundreds of trees, shrubs, and perennials, along with a large area of turf. Great care was taken to ensure irrigation was available to all plant materials.  

The carbon sequestration, pollution scrubbing, and windbreaks this garden will provide to residents of the town and hospital patients, staff and guests alike will be realized for generations to come. 

Cornell adds that HUGS couldn’t've been done without the help of volunteers, donations from the community and landscaping associations, and other agencies. 

With the support of Scotts Canada, Landscape Saskatchewan, Landscape Alberta, Green Cities Foundation Canada and Communities in Bloom the project was able to be completed.  

(With files from Maury Wrubleski/Discover Humboldt)

The video below was submitted by Leslie Cornell: