Save the Thunder Bay Conservatory, group asks

A Facebook group dedicated to protecting Thunder Bay's conservatory has grown to nearly eight hundred members.
Lakehead University student Keely Banning said her fondness for the indoor oasis started with childhood visits, when she toured the garden with her grandfather. (Amy Hadley/CBC)

A Facebook group dedicated to protecting Thunder Bay's Botanical Conservatory has grown to nearly 800 members.

The Centennial Conservatory is one of the things city council will review as part of its cost-cutting efforts.

When Lakehead University student Keely Banning heard the conservatory could be shut down, she said she "was truly devastated and upset."

She did what many community-minded youth do these days, and started a Facebook group called "Save The Thunder Bay Conservatory: Don't Pave Paradise."

Banning said her fondness for the indoor oasis started with childhood visits, when she toured the garden with her grandfather.

"I don't have a lot from him, and this is one of those things I have left," she said. "So, for me, the fight for the conservatory is a fight to go ahead and keep his memory alive."

Group grew quickly

Banning said many of the members of the social media website group have similar stories about why they care about the Conservatory.

She didn't expect the Facebook group to be so popular.

"At the beginning of the day it started off with 20 people. Then it grew to 50," she said.

"Then I went to a break for supper and I came back and I saw almost 200 people. I had not seen that coming. It totally blindsided me."

At last check the Facebook page is close to 800 members.

Keely said she also appreciates the conservatory because she likes photography. Many of the people she's hearing from speak about the importance of the conservatory for photographers.

She noted a lot of people have suggestions for the city as to how the facility can make some more money. There is also talk of fundraising efforts in support of the conservatory.

"We can't lose it," Keely said.