Thunder Bay city hall planning botanical conservatory's future

City staff in Thunder Bay, Ont. are planning the future of one of the landmark, municipally-owned facilities in the area.

City administration held an open house Wednesday to get residents' feedback

The Thunder Bay Centennial Botanical Conservatory is 50 years old. (City of Thunder Bay)

City staff in Thunder Bay, Ont. are planning the future of one of the landmark, municipally-owned facilities in the area.

The 50-year-old Centennial Botanical Conservatory was on the chopping block a few years ago, but renewed interest in the facility, which grows and displays tropical plants, means administration is now working to replace it.

The conservatory property has also housed separate greenhouses that grow other plants for use in city gardens.

"Right now, we're looking at rebuilding the greenhouses themselves this year, there is a budget for that," said Kayla Dixon, the city's director of engineering.
City staff in Thunder Bay, Ont. are taking feedback on what should be in-store for the conservatory. (Jeff Walters / CBC)

"Part of this assessment will determine what types of plants, numbers of plants, how big those greenhouses need to be."

As for the main building itself, the structure needs major work. Falling glass from the conservatory's ceiling closed the facility in 2012 and 2013.

An open house in Thunder Bay on Wednesday was designed to collect ideas from city residents on what they'd like to see the conservatory look like in the future, Dixon said, adding that some ideas already floated include opening up a tea room, hosting wedding receptions and adding an educational component.

"There's lots of modernization that's happened with greenhouses over the past 50 years," Dixon continued. "So, we can have something that's a little easier to operate going forward."

Administration is planning for a new building, Dixon said, rather than trying to continually fix up the existing structure.

"Certainly our intention is to rebuild that facility in some way," she said.

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