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Assiniboine Park: A Park for all Seasons
Assiniboine Park:
A Park for all Seasons

Produced for Prairie Public Television ©2003
Written and Produced By George Siamandas

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Page 2

CONSERVATORY
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 Park.


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