Timmins International Peace Park celebrates cultural diversity

A result of a wide variety of community partnerships, the Schumacher Lions Club unveiled its International Peace Park on Tuesday, a show of celebration for the city's cultural diversity.

Coinciding with the International Day of Peace recognized by the United Nations, the park features 20 'peace poles,' each celebrating different cultures present in the area and designed by people in the community.

Lions Club past president, Mark West, said a former resident gave him the idea, which he agreed would be a great addition to the city.

"It's about bringing cultures together, bringing peace on Earth, maybe enhancing our park with something formal on International Peace Day," said West, chairman of the collaborative committee between the club and the Schumacher Arts Culture and Heritage Association.

"It's wonderful to have everybody coming together."

Among the variety of peace poles is one celebrating four African countries: Ghana, South Africa, Nigeria and Mali.

One of the people who helped design the pole said it's a powerful statement and show of acceptance to be able to share her culture with the community.

"Having Africa stuck in the ground in Canada is a big thing for us," said Agnes Okonmah.

"Most of the things we put there represent togetherness. Where we think there's togetherness, there's unity and where there's unity, there's love and above all, there's peace."

West said the plan is to add more peace poles with different cultures, to install 'peace benches' and to have an annual day-long community celebration in the park on the International Day of Peace.