Calgary·Video

Calgary's Devonian Gardens unimpressive to some

Four years of work and an investment of millions of dollars was not enough to make some people like the Devonian Gardens

City spent $37 million dollars on renovation

Four years of work and an investment of $37 million dollars wasn’t enough to impress some people visiting the city’s Devonian Gardens.

After 34 years in operation, the original facility had reached the end of its lifespan, so it was shut down for renovations in 2008.

"The former gardens...a lot of people would call them tired," said City of Calgary spokesperson Donna Sinclair. "The plant life was actually really stressed. We did need to do some upgrades to that plant life and to the gardens overall."

The city spent millions of dollars during the massive renovation to the only indoor park in Calgary.

Yet some people are still not won over.

""It feels like a corporate area, to me," Eileen Christin said. "I'm sure it would be great for functions and weddings, but as a place to come with young kids, and in the winter, it just doesn't quite feel the same."

Other attendees echo those concerns.

"Kind of a disappointment," said Rachael O'neil. "It's just not what it used to be."

The city admits the new garden is different. It's open to the mall making it cooler and less humid, so designers had to use different types of plants.

The layout is also more open, and designed to hold big groups for weddings and corporate functions.

"We know there's a lot of sentimental value in the former garden," Sinclair said. "Lots of weddings happened (and) marriage proposals."

But Sinclair said the gardens should look more lush when all the plants mature in the next five years.

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