Warning: Smiling is Contagious at the Bloedel Conservatory!

7  Great Reasons to Visit the Jewel Box of Lights!

Welcome to the Jewel Box! Photo copyright Silvester Law

1. It’s like a mini vacation without the airfare!

Walk in and be instantly swept away by the warmth of the tropics! The soothing sound of water and the melodic songs of the free flying birds will instantly calm your frazzled holiday nerves. Find a bench, take a deep breath and relax! Soak up the ambiance of this magical place and feel your tense muscles unwind.

2. The Garden is Masterfully Dressed for the Holidays!

Bloedel’s gardeners have once again pulled out all the stops! Twinkling lights, magical lasers and thousands of artfully planted festive poinsettas set the stage for the season. And just like a real rainforest, be sure to look high into the trees to see the papaya, bananas, India figs and more. Open late through the holidays, you have time to wander through at a leisurely pace. See if you can find the rhinestones on the tips of the poinsettias! The lights are in full brilliance after 4:00pm.

The Jewel Box of Lights show is on until January 2, 2012
Closed Christmas Day)
Sunday to Thursday, 10:00 am – 8:00 pm

Friday and Saturday, 10:00 am – 9:00 pm

3. You Can Stop and Smell the Flowers

The hibiscus, orchids, golden chalace flowers, amazon lilies and of course the gorgeous poinsettias are all in full bloom right now. Plus, the beautiful Christmas cacti will all blossom right in time for the Holiday weekend.

4. The Wishing Tree

Make a wish and help Santa fill the stockings of all the parrots and birds under the Dome! Volunteers will be selling ornaments by donation to be hung on the Wishing tree. The best part? You get to take an ornament home to hang on your own tree to remember the birds at Bloedel! All money raised goes directly for toys and treats for the birds and helps cover their emergency health care costs. Helping the birds will make you feel good all over! Volunteers will be on hand to sell ornaments from:

Tuesday morning (December 13): 10 am – 12 am

Wednesday evening (December 14): 5 pm – 7 pm

Friday morning (December 16): 10 am – 12 am

Saturday afternoon (December 17): 12 am – 3:30 pm

5. Speaking of birds …

Chatty parrots and macaws are sure to make you smile! Say ‘hello’ to Art and watch him dance! Carmen and Maria, the Green Winged Macaws might give you a “High 5”, while Casey the Amazon parrot is sure to entertain and ask “What ‘cha doin’?” Nelson loves to play a “peek a boo” and be sure to give Rosie a whistle, she’s the master of all types of odd and amusing sounds. Even the wee small birds will make you giggle with their antics. Stop by the Feeding Station and watch them take a bath or share the holiday fruit.

6. Stress-free parking is available

Park in the Upper Parking Lot and see the festive fountains on the Plaza! All lit up for the very first time! Parking is also available along the hill up to the Conservatory (pay parking in effect). Alternatively, park for free along the lower ring road.

7. It’s the Best deal in Town!

Admission prices are:

Adults: $5.00; Seniors & Youth $3.48; Kids 6-12  $2.50; Preschoolers – Free.

“Bloedel is a Jewel Box as are the stars, and at Queen Elizabeth Park, you can almost touch the heavens on a clear night” ~ T. Clark

See you there!

Happy 42nd Anniversary Bloedel Conservatory!

Bloedel Consevatory in the Fall

The Bloedel Conservatory opened December 6th, 1969 and was the first domed floral conservatory in Canada! It is at the geographic centre of Vancouver at its highest point in Queen Elizabeth Park.

Bloedel Conservatory under construction.

We thought you might like to read about the history of this fantastic green jewel at the top of our city on this special Anniversary day!

In 1966, while Canada prepared for its Centennial celebrations, two men in Vancouver had a grand vision. Stuart Lefeaux, Superintendent of the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation, and Deputy Superintendent Bill Livingstone wanted to something that would enhance the image of Vancouver and give people something to be really excited about! Their vision was to build a Conservatory for exotic plants that would not only be educational, but would also be a beautiful place to visit. Where better to build such a structure than the geographic centre of the city and at its highest point of land? Queen Elizabeth Park was the obvious answer. But now how to pay for it? Stuart and Bill knew there must be a philanthropist in the city who would like their name attached to such a project.

Prentice and Virginia Bloedel. Photo courtesy of Virginia Wright Bloedel

They approached Prentice Bloedel, retired Vice Chairman of the Macmillan Bloedel Lumber Company. Prentice, a visionary in his own right, teacher at heart and a pioneer in the areas of recycling and the human/ environmental connection agreed! The Bloedel Foundation put forward $1.4 million dollars (worth $8.6 million in 2012 dollars) in conjunction with contributions by the City of Vancouver and the Provincial Government to build the Bloedel Conservatory, the fountains and the surrounding plaza. This was the largest civic gift given to Vancouver to date.

Construction of the aluminum framing of the Bloedel Conservatory.

Construction of the aluminum framing of the Bloedel Conservatory.

The elements for the triodetic dome frame were manufactured in Ottawa and shipped 3,000 miles across the country to Queen Elizabeth Park. Once it arrived, the aluminum framework was erected in just 10 days although the entire Conservatory structure took over 1 year to complete. The Grand Opening of the Conservatory took place on December 6, 1969 and hosted over 500,000 people in its first year of operation.

Bringing in the palms at the Bloedel Conservatory, 1969.

The Bloedel Conservatory is significant for its historical, symbolic, cultural, and social values, and particularly for its use of technologies and building methods which were quite advanced for its time. The Conservatory, the fountain and the surrounding plaza were all designed to work together and with specific goals to show man’s connection to nature. The curving lines of the fountain harmonize with the Conservatory dome, while the leaping fountains add vertical movement to mirror distant trees. The dome structure with its absence of interior supporting columns was chosen to provide an unobstructed view of the exotic gardens within. The Bloedel Conservatory won the prestigious Vincent Massey Award for Excellence in Urban Environment in 1971 and is listed on the Canadian Register of Historic Places.

Join us for the Jewel Box of Lights Opening Event, this Friday, December 9th between 6 and 9pm to help us celebrate this amazing tropical oasis!

“Bloedel is a Jewel Box as are the stars, and at Queen Elizabeth Park you can almost touch the heavens on a clear night!” ~ T. Clark

A great time is sure to be had by all!