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VICTORIA, British Columbia, December 21, 2004 -- The Honourable David Anderson, Member of Parliament for Victoria, British Columbia, on behalf of the Honourable Stéphane Dion, Minister of the Environment, today announced the designation of Butchart Gardens as a national historic site of Canada.

Originally conceived by Jennie Butchart in 1904, Butchart Gardens offer 55 acres of spectacular floral display from the many paths that meander through the four main gardens. Each year, over 1,000,000 bedding plants in some 700 varieties are used throughout the Butchart Gardens ensure uninterrupted bloom from March through October. The Gardens were created in a worked-out quarry site left behind by Robert Pim Butchart’s pioneering efforts in the manufacture of portland cement. Operated as a private family-run business by the Butcharts since that time, the Gardens are a thriving commercial enterprise that attract over one million visitors a year.

“It is most fitting that the Butchart Gardens be designated as a National Historic Site of Canada. For a century the Gardens have been one of the premier attractions on Vancouver Island and a monument to Robert and Jennie Butchart’s imagination and energy,” said
Mr. Anderson. “This family tradition will continue for the century to come.”

The Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada recommended Butchart Gardens for designation as a national historic site because they represent the remarkable combination of three aspects of Canadian gardening history. First, they represent the traits of an early twentieth century estate garden through their use of different types of gardens such as the Japanese Garden, the Rose Garden, the Italian Garden, the Star Pond and Jennie Butchart’s Private Garden. Second, they evoke the early twentieth century beautification movement as expressed through the Sunken Garden. And third, they rely on the Victorian bedding-out system to achieve outstanding floral displays. These three aspects of Butchart Gardens have been consistently conveyed through the successive visions of Butchart family members.

One of the federal Government’s ongoing commitments is to ensure that the system of national historic sites of Canada and its national commemorations reflect the country’s evolving and diverse history. The system also conserves and protects key examples of Canada’s history, and helps Canadians to appreciate and understand the country’s past.

Each year, on the recommendation of the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, the Minister of the Environment designates new national historic sites of Canada, as well as people and events of national historic importance that have helped to build Canada into the nation it is today.

Created in 1919, the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada advises the Minister of the Environment regarding the national historic significance of places, people and events that have marked Canada’s history.


Emma Orawiec
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Environment
(819) 997-1441

Michel Audy
Executive Secretary
Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada
(819) 997-0129

Backgrounder associated with this News Release.