Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia officially recognizes
Government House Gardens as part of a NatureHood
VICTORIA, B.C. July 12, 2017 — The Honourable Judith Guichon, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia and Nature Canada, Canada’s oldest national nature conservation charity, are officially designating the grounds of Government House a NatureHood site as part of the expansion of the existing Saanich Peninsula NatureHood to include the entire capital region. The official ceremony took place on Wednesday, July 12 at 3:30pm at the Government House residence, 1401 Rockland Avenue, Victoria, B.C.
“We are delighted by Her Honour’s passion for nature, and appreciate her support in acknowledging the Government House grounds as a NatureHood site within Victoria’s capital region,” says Bob Peart, National Chair of Nature Canada’s Board of Directors and volunteer with the Friends of Shoal Harbour. “What a wonderful gift to give capital region residents and Canadians on the country’s sesquicentennial birthday,” he adds.
NatureHood is a Nature Canada initiative that inspires urban residents to connect with nature right where they live and to develop a long lasting relationship with nature. The Government House grounds site is within the capital region NatureHood, adjacent to Victoria Harbour and Esquimalt Lagoon and Shoal Harbour Migratory Bird Sanctuaries.
“Since NatureHood’s inception in 2012, it has expanded to over a dozen Canadian urban centres, further broadening the appeal of nature with all Canadians, especially youth, exposing a new generation of nature lovers and citizen scientists to nature all around them,” says Jill Sturdy, Manager of Nature Canada’s national NatureHood program. “As a Nature Canada Woman for Nature, Her Honour’s leadership and commitment to promoting nature awareness and appreciation at the local level is commendable.” adds Sturdy.
“The Friends of Shoal Harbour Sanctuary Society (FOSH) is a proud NatureHood partner and works to highlight the amazing nearby nature of the Saanich Peninsula through public events and school trips,” says Sue Staniforth, President of FOSH.
The reception also honours the Urban Sanctuaries Project, initiated by FOSH and now under the leadership of the Robert Bateman Centre. This community initiative aims to inspire youth to become involved in learning more about the natural systems of the region, with a special focus on celebrating the first three Migratory Bird Sanctuaries along the Pacific Coast.
“The Robert Bateman Centre is excited by the prospect of working with the Urban Sanctuaries Project and NatureHood program to deliver on one of Robert Bateman’s most important beliefs of getting people engaged by the natural world in their own backyard,” says Peter Ord, Managing Director of the Robert Bateman Centre. “These are two great initiatives that celebrate our natural wonder and help build frameworks to keep enhancing it,” Ord adds.
The Government House grounds contain more than 14 hectares (36 acres) of maintained gardens and Garry oak meadows. The grounds is divided into numerous different zones according to plant life and/or garden style including: the British Columbia native plant garden which contains species unique to the province; a Cottage Garden which is arranged in an informal style with a mixture of ornamental and edible plants; gardens to supply cut flowers, herbs, and an orchard with apple, plum, and quince trees; a rock garden tended by the Heather Society of Victoria; iris, lily, rhododendron; rose gardens (including a formal Victorian rose garden based on the plan of that at Warwick Castle in England); and, water features such as the fountain pond and the duck pond. There is also a unique 8.9 hectares (22 acres) Garry Oak ecosystem. The gardens are open to the public year-round and are enjoyed by many visitors.
About Nature Canada and NatureHood: Over the past 75 years, Nature Canada, a nature conservation charity has helped protect over 63 million acres of parks and wildlife areas in Canada and countless species that depend on this habitat. Today, Nature Canada represents a network of over 50,000 supporters and more than 350 nature organizations across the country and with affiliates in every province. One of its signatory initiatives is the NatureHood program, that inspires urban residents to connect with Nearby Nature – nature right where they live. Working closely with grassroots naturalist groups, NatureHood promotes nature through celebratory events, educational and stewardship activities and wildlife observation. NatureHood aims to inspire a new generation of nature lovers. For more information visit http://www.naturecanada.ca
About Friends of Shoal Harbour (FOSH): The Friends of Shoal Harbour Sanctuary Society (FOSH), a non-profit society works to build public support for the continued protection of the Shoal Harbour Migratory Bird Sanctuary, which encompasses several of the bays and inlets just north of Sidney, and to promote public awareness and appreciation through celebratory events. The sanctuary is part of the Sidney Channel Important Bird Area. FOSH is a local NatureHood partner. Visit http://www.shoalharbour.com
About the Bateman Foundation and the Robert Bateman Centre: The Bateman Foundation, a national public charity, inspires a lasting relationship with nature through the lens of art, and is currently the one of the only non-profits in Canada primarily using artwork to promote a connection to nature and the environment. One of the Foundation’s main projects is the Robert Bateman Centre, showcasing over 80 works of Robert Bateman spanning his seven decades as one of Canada’s premier artists. Located in Victoria, BC’s dynamic inner harbour, the Centre houses a gallery and gift shop, and invites guests to explore their relationship with the environment and pay homage to the majesty of nature. For more information visit http://www.batemancentre.org