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Royal Botanical Gardens unveils plans for Rock Garden rejuvenation project

RBG is asking the public to share their memories of its historic garden

BURLINGTON, ON, April 22, 2014 /CNW/ - Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG) today, made public its official designs for their soon-to-be rejuvenated Rock Garden - RBG's signature garden that is scheduled to re-open in the spring of 2015. The $20 million dollar project aims to transform the Rock Garden into a year-round tourist destination and corporate facility, resulting in economic growth to the Golden Horseshoe region. The unveiling of the design also marks the launch of RBG's 'Your Rock Garden Memories' capital campaign to raise the remaining $6 million for project completion.

"After more than 80 years, the time has come to bring the Rock Garden back to the forefront of our community," said RBG CEO Mark Runciman. "The new Rock Garden will retain the historic charm that generations of visitors have cherished while receiving significant upgrades that will bring it into the 21st century."

Highlights of the project include a new year-round visitor centre and entrance, increasing presence on York Boulevard, significant additions to horticultural dislays and major upgrades in infrastructure and accessibility.

The 'Your Rock Garden Memories' capital campaign RBG launched today asks the public to not only donate, but submit their memories of the Rock Garden in essay, photo, or video form by visiting www.rbg.ca/rock. The contest will officially begin May 1 and prizes will be awarded to entries best reflecting the beauty and significance of the Rock Garden throughout its history. The grand prize winner will receive a trip for two to New York City, including at tour of New York Botanical Garden.

"The campaign kicks off with a significant commitment from two long-time friends of RBG, Mr. David Braley and Ms. Nancy Gordon," added Runciman. "They have made an incredible commitment to this campaign and will match community donations towards the project up to $2 million. I am confident that the community will respond and we will achieve our fundraising goal. The Rock Garden is near and dear to so many and this process of rejuvenation will ensure that we will inspire and engage not only our long-time members and supporters but also the future generations of visitors to come.  It is truly a garden of the people – "the people's garden."

Completed in 1931, the Rock Garden is a gateway to the cities of Burlington and Hamilton, and the birthplace of Royal Botanical Gardens, 1,090 hectares (2,700 acres) of horticultural, environmental and historical significance. Royal Botanical Gardens is a National Historic Site and registered charitable organization with a mandate to bring together people, plants and nature.

SOURCE Royal Botanical Gardens

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