Our Origin Story

Posted by Brahmata Michael on

The story behind The Garden of Light

Utsahi (Nérée) St-Amand

“Dreams come true

Only if we dearly love them and proudly treasure them.”

- Sri Chinmoy

We celebrated The Garden of Light's 20th anniversary November 21st 2019, in our new location at 1111 Bank Street in Old Ottawa South. Before that, we had been just a few doors down at 1099 Bank Street since November 1, 2008. However, its story dates way back… Indeed, the Garden of Light emanates from a dream.

Ever since I moved to Ottawa in 1990, I had been longing for a place to find peace amidst the noise, turmoil and stresses of everyday life.  For many years, I had the idea of offering to the Ottawa community a place where there could be peace of mind and heart, in other words a little paradise! I had envisioned this as a spiritual oasis, a place of inspiration where spiritual seekers could find quality incense, inspiring books, spiritual music, and other items to give them joy and at the same time elevate their consciousness.

Since I could not find a place that resembled this dream, I decided to create one. With grace, my dream came true!

In 1999, a small location became vacant on Laurier Street East, close to The University of Ottawa. This is where the initial dream materialized. This was the start of the journey.  The dream continued to evolve to where we now are, in a location where we can offer merchandise, as well as present some mini-concerts and talks on incense, singing bowls, aids to meditation, etc. 

The Garden of Light is honoured to carry spiritual books, CDs and Jharna-Kala Fountain Art prints by artist, author, musician, poet and peace visionary Sri Chinmoy, an inspiration to our world and a person who has transformed my life.

A few unique gifts that we are proud to carry: Fair Trade incense, 100% beeswax candles, locally made creams and soaps, essential oils, Himalayan herbal teas, crystals and semi-precious stones, hand-hammered and machine-made singing bowls, tingshas, lotka paper products, bells and hand-tuned chimes.

We also carry unique Nepalese meditation cushions, japamala beads,  hand-woven cashmere scarves and shawls, yoga accessories, hand-woven bags from WSDO Nepalese women's co-op, as well as various traditional/contemporary crafts created by local artisans in Nepal. Over the past twenty years, another dream of mine has come through: to unite the artisans of Nepal with The Garden of Light community, thus creating a conscious links between our two worlds!

Indeed, through these years, I have travelled many times to Nepal and have established close relationships with family businesses and co-ops thus making these links possible and at the same time supporting Nepalese families and communities.

In other words, an ordinary man’s dream came true:

A man may be ordinary, but his dreams can be extraordinary”.

- Sri Chinmoy