In recognition of the decades of exemplary service to the people of Ontario and Canada by the Honourable R. Roy McMurtry, former Chief Justice and former Attorney General of Ontario, and in honour, as well, of the occasion of his retirement, The McMurtry Gardens of Justice was opened and the first sculpture, The Pillars of Justice was unveiled in June of 2007.
The Gardens is situated in an historic area of Toronto, between the two courthouses on the north-east side of Queen Street and University Avenue. In addition to adding beauty and interest to an important location in the middle of the judicial precinct, the Gardens serves as a unique educational opportunity, the focus of which is the values that underlie the rule of law and the administration of justice in Ontario.
The educational component of the Gardens cannot be overemphasized. Currently, approximately 25,000 students as well as various community groups visit the courthouses and the Gardens on an annual basis, in addition to growing pedestrian traffic. MGJI places considerable importance on the value of artistic expression as a vehicle of education - especially for teenaged students and new Canadians - about the significance of Canada’s core values, most notably its adherence to the Rule of Law . As additional works of art are installed, the Gardens will increasingly be used as an outdoor classroom. The aim of the Gardens is to enhance public awareness and appreciation of the benefits guaranteed by our laws and system of justice.
Funds for The McMurtry Gardens of Justice have been raised from law firms, the judiciary, corporations, associations, foundations and individuals. Five lead donors, The Advocates’ Society, the Law Foundation of Ontario through the Ontario Justice Education Network, the Law Society of Upper Canada, Rebecca MacDonald, and the Toronto Lawyers Association, have each contributed substantial amounts toward its development.
Significantly, the Province of Ontario has permitted the use of the site.
McMurtry Gardens of Justice Inc. (MGJI) is a registered, charitable organization formed to advance the concept of, raise money for, and co-ordinate the implementation of The McMurtry Gardens of Justice (the Gardens). MGJI has raised and will continue to raise money to pay for the acquisition and installation of the works of art. Except for a small amount to cover disbursements, MGJI has no overhead. It operates on a completely volunteer basis.
Originally incorporated under Part 2 of the Canada Corporations Act as The Law Gardens Incorporated, its name was changed to McMurtry Gardens of Justice Inc. in conjunction with its mandatory continuance under the new Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act in February of 2014.
MGJI is inviting further donations to support this worthy project. Donations can either be sent by ordinary mail to the address under the Contact Us tab or directly on-line by selecting the Donate tab.
The members of the MGJI Board of Directors are:
- Seymour Epstein (Chairman and President)
- The Honourable Justice Gloria Epstein
- Clifford Lax (Treasurer)
- The Honourable Roy McMurtry
- Barry Rotenberg
The MGJI Working Group is composed of:
- The Honourable Justice Gloria Epstein of the Court of Appeal for Ontario
- Clifford Lax
- Seymour Epstein
- Harry Linton