‘Little Shoes photo by Francesca’

I acknowledge that I live and work in the Territory of the Anishinaabek: The People of the Three Fires, known as the Ojibway, Odawa, and Pottawatomie Nations. I give thanks to the Chippewas of Saugeen, and the Chippewas of Nawash, known collectively as the Saugeen Ojibway Nation, as the stewards and traditional keepers of this land.


Designer of Healing, Sacred and Community Spaces. 

Thomas Dean

Graduate in Engineering, Ryerson University (now Toronto Metropolitan University).

Graduate in Horticulture/Landscape Design, University of Guelph.

Certificate of Merit in Healing Garden Design, Chicago Botanic Garden.

Perennial Garden Design Master Class with Piet Oudolf, Toronto Botanical Garden.

Accreditation in Evidence-Based Design, The Center for Health Design.

Food Forest and Community Garden

A major expansion of an existing community garden on city parkland, this project for The Canadian Mental Health Association -Grey Bruce offers gardening plots for the community, and part time employment and a sense of purpose in a restorative setting to many who struggle with mental health issues. An edible labyrinth, espaliered apples and pears and many fruiting shrubs, herbs and edible flowers provide produce for the CMHA café and local food-sharing outlets. This project was the National Award Winner for Community Resilience in the AVIVA Community Funding Program.

Apples ready

Gichi-Name Wiikwedong Reconciliation Garden

On the left bank of the Potawatomi River on parkland dedicated by the city, this has become a place for people to come together to learn and celebrate the rich history and culture of the Anishinaabeg. It is a place for ceremony, tears and joy; where harsh truths of the past and the present may be learned and reflected upon.  The site is very close to the original Ojibwe village of Nawash, and the iconic presence of the sculpture of Nookomis Gichi-Name Kwe  (Grandmother Sturgeon) by Indigenous artist Kathryn Corbiere – is a key cultural and spiritual feature.

Apples ready

Grey Gallery Garden

grey gallery garden -Thomas -Dean

Adjacent to an engaging and eclectic downtown art gallery, this open space is now a small community garden with espaliered apples, plant beds, a dramatic shade structure with grape vines, and a spectacular mural by local artist Raquell Yang. Sculpture is displayed in the garden, and musical events draw locals and visitors alike to this urban oasis.

Lakeview Cemetery Columbarium

This restful contemplative space overlooking a pond in the beautiful cemetery was a challenging exercise, considering the very small area and strong shade. To help overcome this, borrowed views and indirect pathways were incorporated to make the space feel bigger than it was. Shade loving native plants thrive in the shadows.

Peace Ranch

In the rolling hills of Caledon, this farm-centred residential recovery centre has live-in and day programs for individuals coping with schizophrenia and other forms of mental illness. The master plan for the site included a labyrinth, maple sugar house, a potagerie, greenhouse, animal paddocks, winding trails and a retreat cabin.

Christ Church Labyrinth

A vision of the parish priest, this labyrinth was developed as a free form design to balance and offset  the very strong linear architecture of the beautiful stone church. Meandering pathways through plants selected primarily for their textural qualities enable calming and restorative experiences, one step at a time.

Good design asks the question:
‘What opportunities exist to inspire restorative actions and experiences in this space?’
Thomas Dean

Thomas Dean LOGO

‘There is need for awareness that the mountains and rivers and all living things, the sky and its sun and moon and clouds all constitute a healing, sustaining sacred presence for humans which they need as much for their psychic integrity as for their physical nourishment.’
Thomas Berry

Skip to content