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Royal Botanical Gardens celebrates the opening of

David Braley and Nancy Gordon Rock Garden
by RBG
May 2, 2016

Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG) announced today, the official opening of the David Braley and Nancy Gordon Rock Garden. Following a $20 million Rock Garden Rejuvenation Project, the garden can now be enjoyed through registered tours between April 30th and May 18th and will open to the public on May 20th.

“After more than 80 years, the time had come to bring the Rock Garden back to the forefront of our community,” said RBG CEO Mark Runciman. “The David Braley and Nancy Gordon Rock Garden retains the historic charm that generations of visitors have cherished, but has truly become a garden for the 21st century, one that embraces environmentally friendly trends in garden design and management while respecting its heritage setting. We are grateful to the Federal and Provincial governments, along with lead donors David Braley and Nancy Gordon, for helping to make this dream a reality.”

The Rock Garden Rejuvenation Project began with a $14 million commitment from the Federal ($7 million) and Ontario ($7million) Governments and provided the garden with major upgrades in infrastructure, accessibility and landscape design. The three-year project allowed RBG to improve the garden’s structural integrity, water and sewage systems, visitor accessibility, and architectural landscape. In addition, a new visitor centre will serve as a year round destination for business and private functions, new lighting and sound systems extend the garden’s operating hours and new horticultural highlights will provide visitors with an experience throughout the entire growing season.

“Ontario’s world-class attractions, like Royal Botanical Gardens, play a vital role in the province’s economic and cultural prosperity,” said Michael Coteau, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport. “I’m proud that our government supported the rejuvenation of this renowned attraction that will continue to boost economic activity and drive tourism in the region.”

RBG has a number of programs and events planned to celebrate the garden’s opening. Luna, a grand opening gala taking place on May 19 will feature live cultural performances from local musicians and performance artists, cuisine featuring celebrated local chefs, and an inspiring light show.

Completed in 1932, the Rock Garden is a gateway to the cities of Hamilton and Burlington, and considered by many to be the birthplace of Royal Botanical Gardens. RBG encompasses 1,090 hectares (2,700 acres) of horticultural, environmental and historical significance, is a National Historic Site and registered charitable organization with a mandate to bring people together with plants and nature.

Royal Botanical Gardens’ mission is to dedicate our expertise in horticulture, conservation, science and education – together with our unique gardens, facilities and natural lands – to inspire and nurture society’s commitment to the environment. Like other public gardens around the world, we are embracing the changes needed to respond to the challenges of climate change.

The new Rock Garden reflects this forward-facing approach. It is truly a garden for the 21st century, one that embraces sustainable trends in garden design and management while respecting the integrity of its heritage setting. It incorporates a best practices approach to plant selection, design and management, including pollinator-friendly plants, species native to Ontario, and a broad representation of drought-tolerant perennials that provide wide sweeps of colour and texture through the seasons.

The new Rock Garden allows RBG to do more with less – less water, less upheaval of the soil, and less humanpower, plant waste and carbon emissions spent on seasonal change-outs of over 150,000 bulbs and annuals. It also allows us to do more, with new infrastructure that allows people to experience this much-loved garden in a new way with new events, year-round, day and night. And, it provides ideas and inspiration for gardeners to take home and incorporate into their own gardens, at a time when everyone’s garden can play a role in helping to make our communities more sustainable.

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