Queen Elizabeth Park Turns 75!

Come out and join the celebration! This Sunday is a family-fun filled free day throughout Queen Elizabeth Park, honouring its 75th Anniversary!

Large Quarry Garden at Queen Elizabeth Park

There will be much to do! Take in a free concert, enjoy the Stanley Park Brewing licensed area, be awed by the aerial acrobatics of CircusWest, stop in and chat with the parrots at the Bloedel Conservatory (free admission), take a thrill ride on the $5.00 Zipline, or try your skill at free Pickleball, Pitch & Putt and Lawn Bowling, plus much more!

WHO: All Ages – Free

WHEN: Sunday, September 13th  Noon – 7pm

WHERE: Queen Elizabeth Park Plaza, Lawn Bowling Centre, Tennis Courts

bloedel entrance sm

Stage schedule

Time  Event/Entertainment
12:00 noon to 12:30pm Opening Speeches
12:30pm to 1:30pm Pop Junkies
1:45pm to 2:45pm Hot Panda
3:00pm to 4:15pm Patrick Nazemi
4:30pm to 5:30pm The Zolas
5:45pm to 7:00pm Delhi 2 Dublin
2:00pm, 3:30pm, and 5:00pm Aerial show by CircusWest at the fountain plaza

All day activities from Noon to 7:00pm

zipline sm•  Stanley Park Brewing licensed area

•  $5.00 zipline rides

•  Free pitch & putt

•  Free admission at the Bloedel Conservatory

•  Face painting at the fountain plaza

•  Photo booth at the fountain plaza

•  Pickleball at the tennis courts

•  Free drop-in at the QE lawn bowling club

 

 

It will be a fantastic day! Something to do for everyone in the family! Come out and celebrate this beautiful park at the highest point in the City!

Quick History of Queen Elizabeth Park

Queen Elizabeth Park is a city landmark, once known affectionately as ‘Little Mountain’ as its summit is just over 501 feet and is located at the geographic centre of the city. The land was originally owned by the Canadian Railway and was turned into a basalt rock quarry between 1890 – 1911. Rock from the quarry was used to build the first roadways in Vancouver.

In 1912, the Canadian Pacific Railway first offered the land to the City of Vancouver. No action was taken at the time, but it was reserved for park purposes. In 1929, Vancouver amalgamated with the municipalities of Point Grey and South Vancouver. It then proceeded to acquire the property from CP Rail. By the end of the 1930’s, it was turned over to the Vancouver Park Board.

King George Queen Mum Vancouver Archives#CVA 371-100

1939 was a historic year! King George VI and his consort Queen Elizabeth traveled the Country on their first official Canadian tour. The royal couple traveled from the east to the west coast on the Canadian Pacific Railroad. While in Vancouver, they visited North and West Vancouver, Stanley Park, UBC and Little Mountain.

In July 1940, Little Mountain was officially renamed “Queen Elizabeth Park” in dedication to the visit from the royal couple. From that time, with $5,000 per year funding from Canadian Pulp and Paper Association, Park staff began transforming the overgrown hillsides into Canada’s first civic arboretum, with over 1500 species of trees. Examples of all the native trees found across the nation were planted along with many exotic species to create the beautiful landscape, which is Queen Elizabeth Park today.

Queen Elizabeth Park covers 52 hectares (130 acres) and is one of the most beautifully maintained public parks in the world. It is second only to Stanley Park in annual visitations, receiving nearly 6 million people per year.

Celebrate National Garden Days!

It’s time to top and smell the flowers with Vancouver’s Garden Pass!

orange hibiscus sm

Orange hibiscus in bloom at the Bloedel Conservatoy. Photo © V. Earle

Just in time for Father’s Day, Canada’s National Garden Days draws attention to public and private gardens across the country! Garden Days (June 19 – 21) celebrate the role of gardens in our communities and in our lives. The program’s objective is to draw attention to Canada’s garden culture, its history and innovations, and to underscore the important values of gardening and environmental stewardship. When the Bloedel Conservatory opened in December, 1969, Prentice Bloedel dedicated this lush green jewel “to a better appreciation and understanding of the world of plants”. It has been connecting people with the magic of the tropics ever since!

This year, 5 incredible public gardens have united to offer a special Vancouver Garden Pass for the celebration. Pass holders can visit any of the gardens as many times as they wish over 3 days for $25.

Buffon's Touraco at the Bloedel Conservatory. Photo © V. Earle

Buffon’s Touraco at the Bloedel Conservatory. Photo © V. Earle

Experience phenomenal collections of plants from all over the world, history and award winning architecture at:

Bloedel Conservatory: 4600 Cambie St, Vancouver at Queen Elizabeth Park

Dr. Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Garden: 578 Carrall St, Vancouver in Chinatown

Nitobe Memorial Garden: 1895 Lower Mall, Vancouver at UBC

UBC Botanical Garden: 6804 SW Marine Drive, Vancouver at UBC

VanDusen Botanical Garden: 5251 Oak St, Vancouver

Ticket options are $25 for individual, $40 for a couple, and $5 for children 5 to 18 years of age (taxes not included).

Buy your tickets in advance online, or at any of the participating gardens during the 3 day celebration. Present your tickets at any one of the five Gardens to receive your wristband-pass. Then, simply present your wristband on June 19th, 20th or 21st at any of the participating Gardens for entry.

Entrance to the Bamboo Bridge in the Bloedel Conservatory. Photo by Vicky Earle

Entrance to the Bamboo Bridge in the Bloedel Conservatory. Photo by Vicky Earle

It will be a great weekend! See you there!

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When the Weather Outside is Frightful …

Shimmer Surprise cultivar

Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima), Shimmer Surprise cultivar. Photo by Vicky Earle

Plan a visit to the Bloedel Conservatory!

It’s a warm and lush tropical get away to relax, recharge and reinvigorate the whole family during the holidays! Plus, the antics of all the birds are sure to bring a smile to everyone’s face. Currently there are hundreds of poinsettias – over a dozen different cultivars – on display for the festive season!

Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima), Yellow Snow cultivar.

Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima), Yellow Snow cultivar. Photo by Vicky Earle

Poinsettias are right at home at the Conservatory. While they are the most popular of all Christmas houseplants, poinsettias are actually indigenous to the tropical climates of Mexico and Central America. The Aztecs called poinsettias “Cuetlaxochitl” (from cuitlatl, for residue, and xochitl, for flower). They used the plant for its medicinal properties to control fevers and the bracts (modified leaves) were used to make a reddish dye for fabrics. Legend has it that Montezuma, the last of the Aztec kings, had poinsettias brought into what now is Mexico City by caravans because this beautiful plant could not be grown at high altitudes. Today the poinsettia is known in Mexico and Guatemala as “La Flor de la Nochebuena” (Flower of the Holy Night, or Christmas Eve). In Chile and Peru, it is called the “Crown of the Andes”.

Winter Rose Red Poinsettia

Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima), Winter Rose Red cultivar. Photo by Vicky Earle

The botanical name Euphorbia pulcherrima (meaning ‘very beautiful’) was assigned to the poinsettia by the German botanist, Wilenow, because he was dazzled by its brilliant color. The poinsettia was introduced to North America in 1825 when the United States’ first ambassador to Mexico, Joel Robert Poinsett, sent several plants back to his home in Greenville, South Carolina. William Prescott, historian and horticulturist, renamed the plant ‘Poinsettia’ in honour of Poinsett.

Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima), Monet Twilight cultivar

Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima), Monet Twilight cultivar. Photo by Vicky Earle

The poinsettia grows in the wild as a shrub or small tree, typically reaching a height of 0.6–5 metres (2–16.5 feet). Typically, the plant has dark green leaves that measure 7–16 centimetres (2.8–6.3 in) in length. The colored bracts — which are most often flaming red but can be orange, pale green, cream, pink, white, or marbled— are often mistaken for flower petals because of their groupings and colors, but they are actually leaves. The flowers of the poinsettia are unassuming and do not attract pollinators. They are grouped within small yellow structures found in the center of each leaf bunch, and are called cyathia.

Bloedel 45th Anniversary cake

Bloedel Conservatory 45th Anniversary Cake

 

Once again, we send a big thank you to all who came out on December 6th to celebrate Bloedel’s 45th Anniversary! It was a fantastic party with Hawaiian Dancers, rhythms of Soul Survivors Steel Drum Band, a Professional Face Painter, Sven and Jens the whimsical and talented Scandinavian Gnomes and of course hot chocolate and cake. The party would not have been possible without the backing and organization from the Vancouver Park Board, the support of the VanDusen Botanical Garden Association, Greyhaven Exotic Bird Sanctuary and all of the fantastic Bloedel staff and volunteers. Thank you to all. We look forward to many more years and exciting things to come!

Happy Holidays!

 

Crazy About Cockatoos!

Gidget, Citron-crested Cockatoo

Gidget, Citron-crested Cockatoo (Cacatua sulphurea citrinocristata)

Looking for a great place to go on the Easter long weekend? Come in to the warm lush tropical atmosphere of the Bloedel Conservatory and get crazy about cockatoos!

You have likely already met Malibu, the Sulphur-crested cockatoo? She as been with the Conservatory for nearly a year and has settled in beautifully. If you stop and say “Hello!”, she will likely give you a loud ‘Hello’ right back and maybe show you some of her best dance moves!

Malibu_sm

Malibu, Sulphur-crested cockatoo (Cacatua sulphurea)

And she is now in good company with other birds in the Cockatoo family: Gidget the Citron-crested cockatoo and Kramer, the Moluccan cockatoo. Gidget also arrived with her best buddy of 15 years: Rudy, the African Grey Parrot. The Bloedel Conservatory is very fortunate to have been chosen as the new forever home for all of these incredible birds.

Citron-cockatoos are smaller than Sulphur-crested cockatoos, have a more orange-coloured crest and soft yellow patches on their cheeks and under their wings. They are a quiet species compared with all the cockatoos and are not as good at imitating human speech as some members of the parrot family. Gidget is the sweetest little cockatoo and loves to give kisses, but you have to listen very carefully!

Kramer, the Moluccan cockatoo (Cacatua moluccensis)

Kramer, the Moluccan cockatoo (Cacatua moluccensis)

Kramer, the Moluccan cockatoo, on the other hand has a large vocabulary and is not shy about letting you know it! He says things like “Hello, Good Morning”, “Peek-a-boo”, “Kramer is a good bird”, (often followed by “Kramer is a bad bird”), “What is that?”,“I’m a bird”, “Let’s party”, “Surprise!”, “Bye-bye”, and “Good night”. Sometimes his language can even get as colourful as the plants at the Conservatory! Watch the video at ‘The Last Word: Dirty Bird Talking’ on the CTV Vancouver website (scroll to page 3 once you arrive). Moluccans are the largest of the cockatoo family and are extremely intelligent. Kramer also loves peppermint tea, baseball hats, and is a very good dancer sometimes swinging upside-down from his perch and putting on a show.

Rudy, the African Grey Parrot (Psittacus erithacus erithacus)

Rudy, the African Grey Parrot (Psittacus erithacus erithacus)

Rudy arrived at the Bloedel Conservatory with Gidget. Rudy is a 16 year old African Grey Parrot and also has quite a good vocabulary. She is also the master of whistles and weird, wonderful sounds. She will say “Hello!”, “Gidget”, loves to do her cat imitation, and if you sneeze, she will politely say “Bless you!”.

African Grey Parrots are loving, playful, and bring joy and laughter into the lives of all who have the pleasure of knowing one. They are known as the “Einstein’s” of the parrot world because of their incredible talking ability. African Greys are considered to be among the most intelligent of all birds, ranking alongside dolphins and chimpanzees for their ability to associate human words with meanings, shapes and colours.

All the birds at the Bloedel Conservatory have either been directly donated to the Conservatory from homes that can no longer keep them or have been adopted from the GreyHaven Exotic Bird Sanctuary. GreyHaven is a local non-profit organization that specializes in parrot rescue, rehabilitation and adoption. They actively promote avian welfare and awareness in the community through educational seminars and presentations.

Scaffolding for roof replacement project

Scaffolding for roof replacement project

A great way to round out your visit to Bloedel is with lunch or dinner at Season’s in the Park Restaurant. It’s open all Easter long weekend and offers one of the best views Vancouver has to offer. Go to their website: http://www.vancouverdine.com/seasons-park for more information, specials and to make reservations.

Now that the Conservatory roof replacement project is well underway, Bloedel is a perfect family friendly and affordable retreat rain or shine, is wheelchair accessible and is open everyday. With lush plants and over 200 exotic colourful (and entertaining) birds, it’s a perfect destination spot in the city. Hours, prices and more info can be found on the Vancouver Parks website. Come for a visit! The birds can’t wait to meet you!

 

Free Admission to the Jewel Box of Lights!

Enjoy one free admission to the Jewel Box of Lights when a second admission of equal or greater value is purchased!

 

If you haven’t yet had the chance to see the lush magic of the Jewel Box of Lights, this is a great opportunity! Click Here for Coupon or visit the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation website: vancouverparks.ca

See You there!

It’s Official!!

The Final Vote Is In!!


Last night Vancouver Park Board Commissioners unanimously approved the joint proposal submitted by the Friends of Bloedel and VBGA!  John Coupar, Vicky Earle and Jim Brookes gave presentations to the Board which was met with a very enthusiastic response. We must thank Malcolm Bromley, the newly appointed Park Board General Manager, who fully supported our proposal that will see the Bloedel Conservatory managed jointly by the VBGA and the Park Board. This will be very similar to the way VanDusen Gardens has operated for many years. It was clear that Commissioners were impressed by the enthusiasm and commitment of the Friends of Bloedel and by the strong track record of VBGA.

The target date to complete details of the operating plan is November 1st, but the acceptance of our proposal is not contingent on finalizing these issues. What does this mean exactly?

The Bloedel Conservatory is OFFICIALLY SAVED and exciting new things will soon be underway!

We could not have achieved this historic turn around without YOUR contributions, help and support!

THANK YOU for having faith in us!

Watch for new birds that will soon be added to the family under the dome, as well as great programs, workshops, events, and other fun things to do for you and your family. Please come often and continue to advocate for Bloedel! The Park Board’s approval is the green light to “go ahead” with our plans and inspirations, now we need to financially turn the Conservatory around. The other great news is that donations will now receive a tax deductible receipt through VanDusen Garden’s charitable registration number.

As always, stay tuned here for updates and information about the fabulous plants and birds under the dome and Enjoy the Magic that is the Bloedel Conservatory!

Call to Action: Time to Re-Stoke the Fires?

Our Bloedel Blog welcomes guest author John Coupar, President, Friends of the Bloedel.

The Friends of the Bloedel Team is concerned that the expected positive vote on Sept. 20, may not be as definitive as expected. The bottom line is we are very concerned that we may not have clear approval of our proposal on Monday September 20, 2010 as expected. This is in clear contrast to the fact that on July 20th the Services and Budgets Committee stated the following:

“The Committee thanked the Delegations for their comments and FOB/VBGA for the hard work on their proposal. The Committee expressed support for the FOBA/VBGA proposal and endorsed it going before the Board for approval in September. Staff will begin working with FOBA and VBGA on details of the proposal immediately”.

I would like to point out I have made various attempts since then to reach out to Park Board staff regarding the details, to date this meeting has not happened. The Park Board has before it a well thought out plan. The few details which need to be tweaked are not of major consequence, a delay at this point will send a very negative signal to the public as well as stakeholders. Since the July 20th meeting which we all took as a clear signal of approval we have wasted no time getting started, the Friend of Bloedel Directors have had extensive meetings with VBGA staff regarding education, marketing, plant acquisition, fund raising, events, the list goes on. Donors are waiting for the amalgamation of our two groups to trigger additional funds to our efforts. The Park Board approval is also the trigger for our two groups to move forward with our amalgamation. Any delay here as the potential of derailing critical plans to bring the Bloedel back to the asset we know it can be. I implore Park Board staff and Commissioners to show good faith and confidence in our work, let us have a clear decision and support of our proposal Monday, September 20th. We are prepared to meet any time this week and over the the upcoming weekends if needed. I know it is possible to present the Board with a late distribution report on this matter if needed. We have all worked to hard on this to allow processing to slow it down.

To all of our supporters and friends, I encourage you to contact the Vancouver Park Board Commissioners and urge them to be decisive in this process to move forward in a positive way.

Sincerely,

John Coupar, President, Friends of the Bloedel Association

Show your Support at the Next Public Meeting!

As you likely know, the Friends of the Bloedel/VanDusen Garden Expression of Interest partnership is still being considered by the Vancouver Park Board. Four proposals were submitted back in April to help operate and manage the Conservatory to save it from closure. We have known for some time that our EOI placed in the top two. Recently, we were asked to submit a more extensive business plan to Park Board staff which was delivered first thing this morning. The final decision is still pending, but we are cautiously optimistic.

Join us at the next Public Meeting Tuesday, July 20th at the Park Board office Boardroom (2099 Beach Avenue @ 6:30) and show your support for our proposal to partner with VanDusen Garden Botanical Association!

The Bloedel is definitely on the agenda for this meeting, and the Park Board Services & Budgets Committee may announce the winning bid.

If you would like to speak on behalf of the Bloedel and/or support our partnership proposal at the meeting, contact Hart Nijjar at 604-257-8453 at the Park Board and ask to have your name placed on the speakers list.

See you there!