The Garden of Secrets: The Future of Sustainable Design
Jan 19
eventfestival feature

Throughout history, people have sought connections with nature. In particular, designers have observed nature, investigated its materials, then imitated and abstracted its forms and qualities.

‘The Garden of Secrets’ is a documentary film exploring the value of looking to nature for design solutions and reveals botanical gardens as the ultimate “idea libraries”. Sanctuaries where a wealth of these solutions, perfected over billions of years of trial, have been assembled at the doorsteps of the scientists, engineers, and designers tackling today’s most pressing challenges.

The event will entail a screening of the film followed by a conversation with leading experts in biomimicry and biophilic design, speaking to how designs inspired by the natural world strike the perfect balance between innovation and environmental respect, contributing to the betterment of humanity and a greener future.


Jamie Miller, is an award-winning designer and biomimicry expert. He was originally trained by Janine Benyus herself. Jamie co-taught Canada’s only biomimicry program at OCAD University, built a Humanitarian Engineering program at Queen’s University and earned a Ph.D. in engineering that focused on applying systems-level biomimicry to urban infrastructure resilience.

Aoife Mac Namara, President of Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. Dr. Mac Namara has served as the esteemed Dean of Simon Fraser University’s Faculty of Communication, Art and Technology. She has had a vast and successful 30-year career in arts education, working in academic institutions in the United Kingdom and Canada, including Emily Carr University of Art + Design, University of Arts, London, and Middlesex University.

Harry Jongerden, Garden Director of Toronto Botanical Garden. A professional gardener, garden designer and garden director for 40 years. He has held the posts of Garden Director at VanDusen Botanical Garden in Vancouver, Head of Horticulture at Royal Botanical Gardens, Ontario and Head Gardener at the Stratford Festival. He is the author of “This Other Eden” and designer of the Walkerton Heritage Water Garden and Stratford’s Elizabethan Garden.

Tina Dacin, 
Stephen J.R. Smith Chair of Strategy and Organizational Behavior at Smith School of Business, Queen’s University. She was the former Director of the Smith School of Business Centre for Social Impact as well as a member of the University Senate at Queen’s University and Former Chair of the Principal’s Innovation Fund Committee.


There will be assistive listening wireless units available.

The first floor of Innis is equipped with ramps and the doors to Innis Town Hall are power assisted, as well as the inner doors to the 4 wheel chair spots – 2 on each side. The back row of seats is step free.

The accessible washrooms are in the café space and on the 3rd floor (elevator accessible). The washroom on the 2nd floor is also an option depending on the accessibility needs – it is not coded for a full wheelchair washroom, but is a large single washroom accessible via elevator.


The Garden of Secrets: The Future of Sustainable Design
The Garden of Secrets: The Future of Sustainable Design


Is this venue accessible by wheelchair or similar mobility devices? This includes access to washrooms and all aspects of programming/events.
The Garden of Secrets: The Future of Sustainable Design
The Eden Project Principal Architect Michael Pawlyn's design sketches, as featured in The Garden of Secrets.
The Garden of Secrets: The Future of Sustainable Design
A landscape turned neon encourages consideration of the natural world from a new perspective.
The Garden of Secrets: The Future of Sustainable Design
Visualizing Biomimicry, a still from The Garden of Secrets.
The Garden of Secrets: The Future of Sustainable Design
The Bullitt Center (Seattle, Washington): The world's most sustainable commercial building. A still from The Garden of Secrets.