18 April 2012

VanDusen Botanical Gardens: From Golf Course to Garden

Last Monday I was honoured to be elected a Governor of the VanDusen Botanical Garden Association. The VBGA operates the Gardens in association with the Park Board. It is also responsible for fund-raising and managing all the volunteers. With over 1600 volunteers there is certainly lots to do! I look forward to working with a terrific board to promote and preserve this gem in our city. Below is taken from the Vancouver Park Board website:

Until the mid 1960s this site, owned by the Canadian Pacific Railway, was one of Vancouver's first full-length golf links known as the Old Shaughnessy Golf Course. Destined to become a housing development by the 1970s, a dedicated group of citizens joined forces with the Vancouver Park Board to set aside 55 acres of the site for a botanical garden. This parcel of land also included the still undeveloped land (11 acres) located on the east side of Oak Street just south of Eric Hamber School. Through a unique partnership at the time, funding for the land, then valued at $3 million, was made possible by three contributors: Provincial Government ($1 million); City of Vancouver ($1 million) and W.J. VanDusen ($1 million). Mr. VanDusen's generosity was recognized by naming the garden for him.

This spectacular garden in the heart of Vancouver has matured into a botanical garden of international stature since opening to the public in 1975. The mild Vancouver climate allows the cultivation of an outstanding plant collection which is a delight any time of the year. There are over 7,500 different kinds of plants assembled from six continents.

The garden design features displays of plants in picturesque landscape settings. Specific garden areas are planted to illustrate botanical relationships, such as the Rhododendron Walk, or geographical origins, as in Sino Himalayan Garden. These areas are set amidst rolling lawns, tranquil lakes and dramatic rockwork with vistas of the mountains and Vancouver cityscape.

The VanDusen Botanical Garden is operated by the Vancouver Park Board and the VanDusen Botanical Garden Association.


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