CEO Letter

IT’S BEEN QUITE THE SUMMER across southern Ontario and with the arrival of the 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Games, Royal Botanical Gardens was able to showcase its own diversity, in both its landscapes and its people. July’s Panorama @ RBG was another opportunity for staff to flex their creative muscles and provide visitors with an experience that satisfied all the senses. Signature gardens, art exhibits, food demonstrations and cultural performances made for colourful weekends while our Adventure Challenge Course gave families a chance to bond while testing their physical, mental and teamwork skills. All of these woven with an educational message aimed to bring people from all walks of life closer to nature.

The games may be coming to a close but RBG is still alive with arts and culture and is a great place to squeeze those last drops out of summer before school days and cooler weather prevails. Garden Music Nights in Hendrie Park continue through September and improved sound coupled with an outstanding lineup of talented musicians has made for the most popular series in recent memory. With 21 first-rate shows complemented by interpretive intermission tours, you’ll be hard-pressed to find better value at a concert venue this summer.

RBG is committed to accentuating its natural beauty with inspiring works of art and continued to do so this summer with the return of Earth Art in the spirit of Pan Am Games. Five new installations can be found throughout Hendrie Park until October 12 and include pieces by artists from Peru, Mexico, Jamaica and United States. The International Sculpture Collection, a vision of RBG friend Dan Lawrie, is growing to 10 works with the addition of four new sculptures in the upcoming months. Stay tuned for more information on these welcomed additions to Hendrie Park.

Our Arboretum has been bustling with activity this summer with Adventure Challenge Course weekends and weekdays filled with hundreds of young kids falling in love with RBG through our summer camps. It will be no different heading into fall with the arrival of Vanishing Acts: Trees under Threat, a traveling exhibit that takes a compelling look at threatened and endangered trees and the importance of taking action to save them. RBG interpretation officer, Jennifer Dick takes a closer look at the exhibit as well as some of our own endangered trees on page 18. Wildlife aficionados will be happy to learn we are hosting Migration Fest at Arboretum on September 19, a great opportunity to join experts and spot many interesting bird species while taking in the fall colours.

As noted in the last issue of Paradise Found, work is almost finished at the iconic Rock Garden. We have had the opportunity to host some tours for staff and donors already and the feedback has been resoundingly positive. Consensus is that the major improvements have not compromised the garden’s historic charm. More tours are scheduled for the fall before the grand opening in 2016.

Mark Runciman

We are happy to welcome Jim Mack as our new head of horticulture this past month. Jim brings years of experience to the position and offers new perspectives to current projects and new ideas to the planning process. You will have the opportunity to get to know Jim in upcoming issues of Paradise Found and at RBG events.

With summer winding down it’s important to embrace the changing seasons we are fortunate to have in this region and we are proud to be the best destination to do so. Fall is a special time to enjoy RBG’s 27 kilometres of trails and take in the beautiful colours. With so many specialized programs to enroll in and events to attend, there’s no better place to be.