Central Park Labyrinth
Discover this wonderful oasis for your mind, body and soul in the heart of Burlington. It is one of the first labyrinths in a public space and is one of the first wheelchair accessible labyrinths in all of Canada.
When is the Central Park Labyrinth open?
Open access for walking the labyrinth is provided day and night, from early spring until the snow comes.
What is a Labyrinth?
A labyrinth is an ancient, geometric pattern that has a single path that leads into the centre and out again. Not to be confused with a maze, a labyrinth was originally based on a circle, the ancient symbol for healing, unity and wholeness. A maze offers a choice of paths, dead ends and false starts; it is our cognitive mind (left brain) that loves to problem solve. Walking the labyrinth involves the creative and intuitive mind (right brain) and can be calming and balancing. The choice is whether to walk the labyrinth – a spiritual journey.
Why a Labyrinth?
The labyrinth is an ancient symbol for healing and a path to renewing the body-mind-spirit connection, which dates back more than 3000 years. Labyrinths of pre-Christian Knossos and Egypt were followed by labyrinths in European cathedrals. The best-known labyrinth is an eleven-circuit design dating back to the 13th century, and is laid on the floor of Chartres Cathedral in France. Burlington’s Central Park Labyrinth is modeled after this one.
Ancient and modern labyrinths can be found in many areas of the world, including France, England, Sweden, India, Peru and the American southwest. In the last decade, North Americans have rediscovered the labyrinth as a tool for well-being and they have since been installed in: Hospitals, schools, churches and even individual residences.
Benefits of a Labyrinth
Research conducted by Dr. Herbert Benson at Harvard Medical School’s Mind/Body Medical Institute has found that focused walking meditations are highly effective at reducing anxiety and eliciting what Dr. Benson refers to as the relaxation response.
Regularly eliciting the relaxation response can result in:
- Lowering blood pressure
- Lowering breathing rates
- Reducing incidents of chronic pain
- Reducing insomnia and
- Improving fertility
People walk labyrinths to celebrate, to grieve, to slow down, to seek insight, to find stillness and compassion and for health benefits.
How long does it take to walk the labyrinth?
Walking the labyrinth may take you 20 to 30 minutes for a slow meditative, reflective walk. However, children or others can playfully meander in a matter of minutes.
History of Central Park Labyrinth
A group of Burlington residents from the ages of four to 75 led by Justine Giuliani, an accomplished artist and certified labyrinth facilitator, created a meditative sanctuary as a Millennium Project in Burlington’s Central Park in 1999. The original temporary labyrinth was created of mulch and river rock and was a copy of the Cretan Labyrinth in Greece. This temporary labyrinth was in use from October 1999 until August 2003. A permanent structure, made of coloured concrete, was officially opened on May 14, 2005.
The vision of the Central Park Labyrinth Community Group, in partnership with The Ontario Trillium Foundation through the Burlington Bereavement Resource Council (BBRC) and the City of Burlington was to build a greater sense of community and provide a place of peace, healing and beauty in an urban area. This project was possible because of the work of many volunteers, committee members and significant financial contributions from individuals and corporations in our community.
Earth Day Celebrations - April 22nd annually
Earth Day is a time to celebrate gains we have made and create new visions to accelerate environmental progress. Earth Day is a time to unite around new actions. Earth day is the largest, most celebrated environmental event worldwide where more than 6 million Canadians and 500 million people in over 180 countries address local environmental issues.
The Central Park Labyrinth Community Group has been involved with the Earth Day Event since April, 2000. Burlington Student Theatre is now leading the celebration of this annual event at the Labyrinth. Please join us on April 22nd as we celebrate the environment through poetry readings, singing and dance performances.