Susan Mehaffey and Allen Lewkoski take in the conservatory on Sunday.

Valentine’s Day isn’t until Tuesday, but several hundred people got into the spirit of the day with a visit to the Centennial Botanical Conservatory on Sunday.

The Friends of the Conservatory hosted what has become an annual event with a Valentine’s theme.

“It’s a beautiful place, one of the best indoor places in the city . . . and one of the best places for a date in town . . . with plant conditioned air,” Kevin Sidlar, co-chair of the Friends of the Conservatory, told The Chronicle-Journal.

The city council is in budget talks right now and the question of closing the conservatory comes up annually, which is one of the reasons the Friends of the Conservatory formed.

“We understand that it is a very difficult budget season for council, but we are confident that we have shown how much the city loves the facility and how much value it provides to the citizens,” said Sidlar.

The Friends of the Conservatory are still waiting as to whether the City of Thunder Bay will receive Canada 150 funding. The Centennial Botanical Conservatory was the City's #1 choice in their application for Canada 150 infrastructure funding. The $100,000 in funding would be used to repair and upgrade the two side greenhouses that are currently closed.

Last month, a dance party event was hosted at the conservatory, which Sidlar called incredible and well attended.

In the spring, the group is planning some outdoor gardening related community activities, which they have found popular in the last couple of years.

People who attend the conservatory Sunday had lots to see.

Barb Edward, city parks staff at the conservatory, said the powder puff is blooming along with lots of fruit like navel oranges, mandarin oranges, lemons, loquats and bananna’s.

Sean Kim is a monthly visitor to the conservatory with his family.

“We were concerned about the conservatory when it was closed (due to falling glass),” said Kim, who thought it would be bad to close the place in Canada’s 150th year.

It was the first visit to the conservatory for Susan Mehaffey, who said it was something different and really captures kids imaginations and it is a real plus that there are no poisonous spiders or snakes, she added jokingly.

Recommended for you