Nfld. & Labrador

Philip Sprung, designer of infamous Sprung Greenhouse, dead at 83

Philip Sprung, a key player in the Sprung Greenhouse fiasco, has passed away in Calgary.
Calgary businessman and philanthropist Philip Sprung has passed away at the age of 83. (Twitter/@RonertGHawkins)

Philip Sprung, a key player in the Sprung Greenhouse fiasco, has passed away in Calgary.

An ill-fated deal with Alberta entrepreneur Philip Sprung in 1987 brought a sour note to the tenure of Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Brian Peckford.

Sprung, 83, is best remembered for striking a deal with Newfoundland and Labrador in 1987 to build a massive hydroponic greenhouse complex near the St. John's-Mount Pearl boundary. 

Developed in the interest of diversifying the economy in the province, the greenhouse became a financial and political disaster for the government of then-premier Brian Peckford, costing taxpayers more than $20 million.

Sprung had many achievements as a businessman and innovator, including designing a structure for NASA to house the space shuttle orbiter.

He later went on to design a massive hydroponic greenhouse complex.

That facility was later relocated to Newfoundland when the greenhouse deal was made with Peckford.

Work as a philanthropist

Tim Sprung, vice-president of Sprung Instant Structures, described his father as "a visionary with an unstoppable mind and creative spirit."

Philip Sprung has done considerable work for emergency relief for global disasters, including providing shelters for people following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Hurricane Katrina and the Rwandan genocide.

Sprung was recognized by former U.S. president George H.W. Bush for his outstanding commitment to saving lives and lessening human suffering around the world.