NAR: The Conservatory or Palm House as it was originally
called was built in 1914 by Lord and Burnham of Toronto.
It became an immediate hit with the public. People flocked
to see the annual chrysanthemum show considered the finest
in Canada. The conservatory attracts over 400,000 visitors
a year from around the world. A series of flower shows
complement the permanent conservatory collection. During
the middle of winter while the snow and winds rage outside,
the conservatory remains a wonderful lush retreat.
LINDA GLOWACKI, ASSINIBOINE PARK CONSERVATORY
The Conservatory at the time was a gorgeous structure of
steel and glass Victoria style with all the softness of
the curves. It must have just glowed in the sunlight, quite
beautiful, and the palm house was the central structure
to that. Conservatories are a cornerstone for botanical
gardens throughout the world. About a hundred years ago
there was a big push to build conservatories. People understood
the need especially in cold climates to have this kind
of foliage around people on a cold winter's day.
Our Conservatory consistently gets close to 400,000 people
through it a year. There's actually a few trees here that
we know for a fact particularly a Norfolk Island pine that
was one of the original plantings. I've actually had people
come to the front counter and say I've been coming here since
the 40s and 50s. I had a fashion show here when I was young.
I came here to sing. We have many wonderful stories, family
stories. We are one of the best multi generational facilities
in Winnipeg. And if you are here on the weekend you see everything
from great grand children to grandmothers and they all have
their own stories.
We have a lot of people that come here for respite, from
the hustle and bustle of the everyday world. Solace is another
thing. We have a lot of people that are grieving that come
here to find a bit of respite from that. It's the sort of
place that gives you a little bit of peace, and in today's
world that's sort of a rarity.
KIM CHIPMAN, FRIENDS OF THE CONSERVATORY
The Friends of the Conservatory started in 1988 by a group
of people that were horticulturists, some professionally
others passionately, and it has just taken off hugely.
We've grown from a group of 10 interested people to over
800 members. And we raise a terrific amount of money that
goes towards the betterment of the conservatory. The Friends
have a vision for bringing it all back to the original
look with all glass and no brick; very high ceilings and
architecturally very beautiful and very Victorian.
Our volunteers are so passionate about what we do and what
we show the public.
They donate this time willingly and they love it. There is
nothing like communing with nature in your volunteer spare
time to really rejuvenate the flesh and the spirit.
When people come to visit they can see what we've done with
volunteers. We now have 7 volunteer gardens. It started of
with the herb garden, we now have the Victorian Order of
Nursing cutting garden, the Transplant Program, the Organ
Donor garden, the day lily garden and all of these have came
at no expense.
People donate plants they donate time. It's because people
love the building, love the experience here and it's so refreshing
and important to them to really commune with nature in that
way. The Friends has been a terrific outlet for people to
give something back to this passion of theirs to Assiniboine
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