Described as “a place to gather and celebrate our common heritage…” Oodena was inspired by the myths and sacred places of the many peoples drawn to The Forks over its 7,000-year history. Its 3 metre deep excavation unearths what local archaeologists call “the archaic horizon” – a 3,000 year-old layer of soil rich in artifacts. Within the sheltered bowl, around the winter bonfire, visitors are offered a chance to rekindle their personal sense of wonder with the world around them: to witness the solstice sunrise, or follow the paths of the brightest stars in the sky and the stories they inspire.
Surrounding the bowl, eight sculptural steel armatures will draw the eye skyward and act as guideposts for celestial orientation. At the times and dates listed on the interpretive panels surrounding the central stage, visitors can use the sighting rings on the armatures to identify specific stars and their associated constellations and legends. Each armature is unique: one terminates with a wind sculpture, another supports an Aeolian harp. This project was twice recognized in CSLA’s national awards and has been featured in numerous articles, exhibits and magazines, including a forthcoming piece in Landscape Architecture magazine. Though intended as a multi-cultural space, urban aboriginal groups have adopted it as a favorite place for ceremonies and celebrations year-round. HTFC is currently working with the Province on an interpretive partnership that could include Oodena studies in the high school curriculum.