We welcome this guest post by John Coupar!
Wow! What a year for Friends of the Bloedel and the Bloedel Conservatory!
At the end of December last year we were faced with a determined Park Board and City Council which had cut the funding for our beloved Bloedel Conservatory. The future looked very grim indeed with the dome facing an eminent closure date of March 1, 2010. However, our hastily formed group Friends of the Bloedel and our founding Directors Sheryl Hamilton, Vicky Earle, Terri Clark, Tom Hobbs and myself were just beginning to fight.
The vote to close the Bloedel Conservatory was a seminal event. Friends of Bloedel hit the ground running. We focused on getting the message out to main stream media, social media … actually, anyone who would listen (or who had a contact that would listen). Basically, they were bombarded with information! Our group swelled in members and donations followed. Events were planned and executed successfully due to a tremendous group of volunteers and donors. It is clear to me that the planned closure of the Bloedel Conservatory was to be a horrific event. We realized that once it was gone, it could never be replaced – but it was more than that…
There was the realization that much of Vancouver’s incredible beauty is a result of the great horticultural tradition of the Vancouver Park Board. It is our cherished green spaces, parks and gardens that differentiates Vancouver’s look and feel from other cities. This did not happen by accident. It was a result of careful planning and true vision. To lose a piece of this beautiful legacy would have been a great tragedy. Eventually, through sheer determination and a collaborative effort in conjunction with VanDusen Botanical Garden Association, the Park Board gave us unanimous support to keep this Architectural, Horticultural, Natural green jewel at the pinnacle of our great city open.
The synergy between VanDusen Botanical Garden, the Vancouver Park Board and the shared vision of horticultural and curatorial excellence needs to be nurtured and protected. This year will bring us many challenges as we continue our work to enhance and reinvigorate the Bloedel. We have many more events planned, and I am counting on the continued support of the citizens of Vancouver and British Columbia to help as move into the next phase of our efforts. Donations can be sent to the VanDusen Botanical Garden Association (please mark on cheque “for Bloedel Committee”) and see link below for further info.
Thank you all for your support! Happy New Year!
Chair, Bloedel Committee VBGA
Cell 604 818 2756