‘We are looking within the next decade to build this’: Regina Floral Conservatory eyeing expansion
Nestled in a corner of the Queen City’s industrial area, you’ll find an escape from the never-ending winter.
Boasting exotic flowers, ponds, warm temperatures, and even some koi, the Regina Floral Conservatory is a hidden treasure for longtime guests and first-time visitors.
“It’s so bright and cheerful to find all the flowers in bloom,” visitor Holly Hirschfield said. “It feels like winter could actually end for us.”
But after nearly 30 years, it’s starting to outgrow its space.
“These trees can’t go anywhere because there’s a glass ceiling,” Regina Garden Associates past president Jess Paul said.
“We offer school tours based on science curriculum, and we’re already fully booked for the remainder of this year. We just don’t have the capacity to offer more times.”
The conservatory is also a popular local destination for weddings, baby showers, and memorials.
Currently, about 15,000 people visit every year. Paul thinks that number could grow with a bigger space.
After years of planning, the new conservatory committee has a design for a proposed three-level building in Wascana Park that would allow them to grow their plants, programming, and opening hours.
“There’s the potential for three conservatories in this building,” Paul said. “Right now we have one display. It changes six times per year, depending on the season. This would offer us one conservatory like this which changes displays, plus more permanent displays, like a tropical display and a desert display.”The concept building is designed to be located at the north end of Arboretum Park, to the east of the Wascana Rehabilitation Centre and just south of Lakeshore Drive. The Wascana Centre master plan has marked that space for a new conservatory for nearly 20 years.
“It kind of coincides with the park,” conservatory visitor Marianne Selinger said. “You have the indoor and the outdoor mixing and mingling together. I think it would be a wonderful place for it to be.”
“It would be so exciting to have it accessible,” Hirschfield said. “It’s not an easy spot to find right now and it’s not very big. Having a bigger space would be so great.”
The project comes with a current price tag of $29 million, though that could fluctuate.
“Instead of three conservatories, so maybe it’s just two. We have flexibility like that,” Paul said. “We are looking within the next decade to build this.”
The current building is city-owned, but volunteer operated. They’ll appeal to all levels of government for money before launching a public fundraiser later this year.
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