Major construction projects at the University of Alberta Botanic Garden are on track to be completed by the time the Garden opens for the season on June 29, 2018. The Garden has delayed its usual May 1 opening by almost two months, but visitors will be rewarded for their patience once they experience the Garden’s new features.
When the Garden opens on June 29, visitors will be able to experience, for the first time, the much-anticipated Aga Khan Garden, Alberta (AKGA). Unlike any in the province, and the largest of only a handful in North America, the AKGA is a spectacular contemporary garden inspired by traditional Islamic design, with water features, intricate stonework and geometric patterning. This beautiful feature is the result of a $25 million gift from His Highness the Aga Khan.
When visitors arrive at the U of A Botanic Garden, they will also be greeted by a brand new feature entry sign, parking lot, ticketing area and entry plaza, among the many improvements that have been under development for the last few years.
“It’s taken nearly a decade of planning and a few years of disruption during construction,” said Director Lee Foote, “but, finally, everything is coming together into a unique and beautiful Garden that visitors from near and far will enjoy for many decades to come.”
“Planting and finishing touches on landscaping will continue throughout the season,” said Foote, “and some areas will be roped off to allow young plants to establish successfully, but we think visitors will be thrilled when they see what’s new here.”
The delayed season opening will have impact on some annual events that normally occur in May and June. While it has been possible to reschedule some activities for later in the season, others, like the popular Mother’s Day Tea and Kurimoto Japanese Garden Spring Festival are cancelled for 2018.
The late season opening will not affect school field trips, weddings, and adult education classes, which will continue as scheduled during May and June. The Garden’s popular annual plant sale will be a two-day-only event, on May 12 & 13, and be held out of its production greenhouses.
“We’re looking forward to the return of our full event line-up next year, and we’re grateful for the understanding and patience of the public, our volunteer groups and community partners,” said Foote.
Because of the Garden’s early closure in fall of last year and late opening this year, anyone who purchased a Season Pass in 2017 will have their pass extended to Thanksgiving, 2018.