Thunder Bay Centennial Botanical Conservatory

Kirsti Toivonen and Attila Ferenczi take a stroll in the Thunder Bay Centennial Botanical Conservatory on Sunday. The two were spending some time together before Ferenczi's flight back to Calgary.

The chairwoman of Friends of the Thunder Bay Conservatory says when she heard city council’s support to use new federal funding to help the facility, she cried.

Last month, The Chronicle-Journal took a poll from council on where they would like the new Canada 150 funding from the federal government to go. The majority said they would like to use it to expand the Dease Street conservatory.

The conservatory has been seeing some positive momentum building since its temporary closure a few years ago over concerns about falling glass.

Since the conservatory’s partial re-opening, the community led group has done a lot to try and bring more awareness to the facility.

Chairwoman Kathleen Ott said when she read council would support the conservatory, it felt like they were on the same page.

“They finally have it,” she said. “It just inspires you to keep going. The executive has been carrying it all and you get tired, but hearing things like that just inspires you to keep going and pushing forward. Now there’s so much going on at the conservatory and we have developed such a wonderful relationship with the staff and management there.”

Ott said they have been putting a lot of emphasis on trying to find creative ways to get people into the conservatory and added that they have seen attendance increasing since they started their initiative.

She said they realized that for the conservatory to stay open they need to convince the city that it was a viable fixture that residents wanted to keep.

The group will also be holding their annual general meeting on Tuesday at 7 p.m. at St. Paul’s Anglican Church in the basement. Ott said they will be discussing a number of topics including giving an update on what has been happening at the conservatory. She said they are hoping more volunteers will come forward as they are planning to host some summer events.

“We’re just trying to get more people involved,” she said. “Everything that’s gone on since January has pretty much been done by the executive. So seven or eight members have been doing this and we certainly don’t mind but we need help to go forward. We need to keep going on this momentum and we want the public to get involved.”

Recommended for you