Vivian’s Garden as inspiring as its namesake

May 28, 2019

Vivian Mendes poses next to a plaque commemorating Vivian’s Garden, a green space dedicated to honour her half-century of service at the Royal Alexandra Hospital. She hopes all who visit the garden will enjoy the beauty and tranquility of the space.

Royal Alex dedicates green space to honour longtime employee and volunteer

Story by Vanessa Gomez

EDMONTON — Inspired by the leadership of Vivian Mendes, a group recently gathered to dedicate Vivian’s Garden, a revitalized green space on the second-floor atrium of the Active Treatment Centre at the Royal Alexandra Hospital (RAH).

As part of the Royal Alex for more than 50 years, Mendes is being recognized for her hard work and many roles, including unit manager, supervisor and clinical instructor. As well, she’s the past president of the RAH Women’s Auxiliary — a volunteer group dedicated to creating a better healthcare experience for all.

“Vivian is passionate about enhancing the hospital experience for patients and their families,” says Gloria Bauer, current president of the auxiliary, which played a major role in revamping the garden. “She’s provided an enormous amount of leadership, and is really responsible for the revitalization of this garden project.”

The revitalization and dedication of Vivian’s Garden is part of the auxiliary’s 120th anniversary celebration. The project brought in new plants and soil, trimmed the trees to let more light in and established a five-year plan to ensure garden maintenance.

“The garden is located in the middle of all the hospital wings,” adds Bauer. “It’s a place for people to come together and get away from the hectic pace of the units. People can just relax and visit, have their lunch and enjoy this beautiful space.”

The auxiliary plays an important role at the RAH. Founded in May 1899, the auxiliary (formerly known as the Edmonton Public Hospital Aid Society) is responsible for providing quality care to patients through volunteer services and financial support derived from the hospital’s two gift shops, located in the Active Treatment Centre and the Robbins Pavilion.

Over the years the auxiliary has championed projects to furnish spaces throughout the hospital, to pay for equipment and to support initiatives such as handing out balloon and flower bouquets to patients.

To find out more about the Women’s Auxiliary, or to volunteer as a member, please leave your name and contact information in one of the RAH gift shops, or send an email to