Thunder Bay·Audio

Thunder Bay conservatory group aims to make new friends

A group that wants to increase traffic at the Thunder Bay conservatory is seeking new members.
The Centennial Botanical Conservatory opened in 1967 by the Fort William Parks Board as a Centennial project, and is a legacy to the citizens of Thunder Bay. (Supplied)
During one of the coldest months of the year, it seems appropriate that the Friends of the Thunder Bay Conservatory wants to raise their profile. Kathleen Ott is one of the "friends."

A group that wants to increase the number of people visiting the Thunder Bay conservatory is seeking new members.

The Friends of the Conservatory group came together when the conservatory was closed for glass repairs and it looked like it wasn't going to be re-opened.

Currently the main part of the conservatory is open, but the two end sections remain closed.

Kathleen Ott chairs the Friends of the Thunder Bay Conservatory. (Cathy Alex/CBC)
Group member Kathleen Ott said she feels it will stay that way until there is some movement to do major repairs.

"It's a great place, an oasis to get away from the cold. It's a wonderful place for respite,” she said.

She said the group is always looking for new members, and needs volunteers.

Last year, the group worked on the perennial gardens, and 35 people showed up to dig in the dirt.
The Friends of the Thunder Bay Conservatory are busy promoting a Jan. 18 event at the conservatory. (

So far, volunteers have formalized the group, planned out their objectives, passed a constitution and, in the new year, will apply for non-profit status.

“And what that will allow us to do will be to access certain grants for different projects we could possibly be doing in the future,” Ott  said.

Ott says they would love to see more events held there, and more promotion and use of the conservatory. Developing the conservatory for educational purposes would be ideal, she added.

The group is also concentrating on projects to celebrate the conservatory's 50th anniversary. They'd like to see the construction of a children's playground.

"Our mission statement is to promote and educate the community in the stewardship of the natural environment and to get people to appreciate the conservatory's collections,” she said.

For more information, visit the group’s Facebook page.

It may be cold and wintery outside, but it's always lush and green inside at the Thunder Bay Botanical Conservatory. (Supplied)