From a Golf to a #Botanical Garden: A Story of a Still « Green » Land

This the story of a golf that became a botanical garden of international stature.

In 1910, the site of 22-hectare in the heart of Vancouver was an isolated acreage of stumps and bush. It was owned by the Canadian Pacific Railway and was leased by the Shaughnessy Golf Club from 1911 until 1960 when the golf club moved to a new location. The railway proposed a subdivision, but was opposed by many citizens. In 1966, the VanDusen Botanical Garden Association was formed to assist the Vancouver Park Board with saving the site. This effort was successful and the land was purchased with shared funding from the City of Vancouver, the Government of British Columbia and the Vancouver Foundation with a donation by W. J. VanDusen, after whom the Garden was named.

The VanDusen Botanical Garden officially opened to the public on 1975. « Sur la Route du Patrimoine » visited it in December 2012. Even if it was the bad season to enjoy the plants and trees, we appreciated the architecture of the garden, its collections of native species, its labeling. We would love to visit again in spring!

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You readers have to understand that the urban pressure is spectacularly high here in Vancouver as the the metropolis is growing about 500 new comers per week. The Vancouver Park Board is doing a great job to protect the remaining « natural » areas, green patches, and make them alive. They are very appreciable in this green city. I had the occasion to know a bit more about their way to involve the local communities in this important task for good living conditions. I attended one of the public workshop about the new management plan of the Renfrew Park.

The Vancouver Park Board is developing a master plan to rehabilitate Renfrew Ravine Park and Renfrew Community Park in collaboration with community partners. I really appreciated their methodology in progressive steps and really taking into consideration the public proposals for the final document. Even if the participatats weren’t too many in comparison to the population of the neighborhood, it was friendly and a good governance experience.


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