Skip to content
COVID-19 Closures: Royal Botanical Gardens temporarily closed as of Dec 26. Trails remain open.

Mark Runciman Retirement and Tribute Fund

November 4, 2020

A special message from Cliff Carson, Chair, Board of Directors.

How many of us can speak of an illustrious, thirty-five plus year career with one organization? Not many. There is one such person I know whose leadership has directed Canada’s largest botanical garden through significant renewal and growth over the past 15 years. Yes, I am speaking of Royal Botanical Gardens’ CEO, Mark Runciman.

Beginning in 1984, Mark worked his way through the ranks of RBG, with unparalleled dedication and commitment, gaining extraordinary knowledge of the lands and complex issues unique to the organization. In his journey from Superintendent of Buildings and Equipment to the Director of Capital Works, and then to the position of CEO, Mark earned the respect and support of staff, volunteers, and board members, solidifying a focus on legendary guest experiences and ensuring the long-term financial sustainability of RBG.

Achievements under his leadership such as the addition of the Camilla and Peter Dalglish Atrium, Aldershot Escarpment Garden, Helen M. Kippax Garden, the rejuvenation of the iconic David Braley & Nancy Gordon Rock Garden, and the revitalization of the Rose Garden were projects that transformed RBG. Perhaps his greatest lasting legacy was the development of RBG’s 25-Year Master Plan which received Board approval in May of this year.

What an astounding career, a remarkable contribution to our local community and a gift to all of Canada! As Mark’s last day on the job will be December 31, 2020, it is now time to say thank you.

  • 2013 President Deane and Mr Runciman EcoPark System Signing DAG
  • 2017 APGA Casey Sclarr Mark Harry Jongerden APGA Award of Merit
  • 2015: Mark speaking at the Rock Garden Recognition Dinner
  • 2012 Queen Elizabeth II Mark Runciman Peter Wyse Jackson Jubilee Medals

Images: (1) McMaster President, Patrick Deane, and Mark signing Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System MOU, (2) in 2017, Mark was recognized with the Award of Merit from the American Public Gardens Association, (3) 2015: Mark speaking at the Rock Garden Recognition Dinner, (4) Mark representing RBG at Kew’s 250th Anniversary and meeting Queen Elizabeth II.

RBG’s Board of Directors have chosen to dedicate the Breezeway as a tribute to Mark. A small but beautiful indoor garden at RBG Centre, the Breezeway sits between the Mediterranean Garden and the Children’s Natural Playground. The garden is refreshed throughout the year with a new collection of plants that celebrate the changing seasons. This garden is not only one of Mark’s favourites, but the entrance to the Mediterranean Garden, his first capital project when he started at RBG in 1984.

Many have asked about celebrating Mark’s legacy and I am pleased to announce the creation of the Mark Runciman Tribute Fund.  The fund will support RBG during this difficult pandemic year and focus on RBG’s vital projects such as plant propagation, aquatic revitalization, habitat protection and RBG’s many conservation and education programs, including our new RBG at Home digital education program for children and educators.

By giving to this special fund, you can tangibly say thank you to Mark and ensure that your name and best wishes are passed along to him.

Thank you for your continued support of Royal Botanical Gardens and thank you in advance for supporting this very special RBG Tribute Fund in Mark’s honour.  

  • 2006 Laking Runciman at LL book launch RBG DAG
  • 2008 Mark in Atrium Machine Space wth board and staff DAG
  • Mark circa 1995
  • mark runciman speaking at sculpture reveal in the rose garden

Images: (1) RBG 2006: Mark and Dr. Leslie Laking at Dr. Laking’s book launch, (2) Mark touring the Atrium with the board and staff of RBG, (3) Acting Director, RBG 1995-1996, (4) 2019: Mark speaks at the unveiling of a new sculpture in the Rose Garden.