The Leaf Indoor Horticultural Attraction Officially Opens at Assiniboine Park
Winnipeg, MB – The Leaf at Assiniboine Park, Canada’s newest horticultural attraction, opened to the public on Saturday, December 3, after much anticipation. The completion of The Leaf was made possible in part by a major donation from Qualico, along with funds from other donors, through a larger capital fundraising campaign called Imagine a Place.
Rheo Catt, Director, Capital Campaign/Resource Development, Assiniboine Park Conservancy, shared words of appreciation with leadership and major donors, including Qualico.
“Throughout the Imagine a Place campaign, your tremendous generosity has kept the historic redevelopment of Assiniboine Park moving forward,” she said. “Thank you for your gifts and for helping to create a legacy for our city and our province. What we’ve achieved together is truly extraordinary.”
In the Diversity Gardens outside of The Leaf, a promenade will be named after Qualico in recognition of the company’s donation to the capital campaign.
Throughout the approximately 30 acres of outdoor greenspace, the Diversity Gardens showcase six gardens with different qualities for new visitors to explore, including The Indigenous Peoples, Kitchen, Seasonal, Performance, The Grove, and Sensory gardens. In addition, thousands of trees, shrubs, flowers, and other plant life are flourishing in four unique indoor biomes: the Hartley and Heather Richardson Tropical Biome, Mediterranean Biome, Babs Asper Display House, and the Shirley Richardson Butterfly Garden.
To make sure people of all ages can learn about and appreciate the different biomes and gardens, The Leaf has incorporated a living classroom called the Tannis M. Richardson Indoor Classroom, where school and community groups can come participate in environmental and cultural education programs year-round. The goal of this classroom is to create platforms for programming that will inspire people to care for nature and reflect on the diverse, multicultural, and multigenerational community.
Horticultural attractions like The Leaf and the Diversity Gardens serve an important role in connecting people with plants and preserving diverse groups of specimens. In a world where climate change and human activity can have a major impact on many plant species, places like The Leaf and the Diversity Gardens help ensure biodiversity continues.
The Diversity Gardens are home to a variety of native species of plants that thrive in southern Manitoba’s climate, but even these hardy plants have faced challenges in the wild. The inclusion of such native flowers, grasses, and trees helps local wildlife, including birds, insects, and many animals, and adds to the overall population of these plants.
Food grown in the Kitchen garden at the Diversity Gardens also has an important role, ending up on plates at The Leaf’s onsite restaurant, Gather Craft Kitchen & Bar. This helps the restaurant incorporate sustainable, local produce into its dishes, leading to a smaller carbon footprint.
The Leaf’s design draws on nature to make the building as energy-efficient as possible with the use of ventilation louvres that help to circulate air, geothermal tubes, and an ETFE (ethylene tetrafluoroethylene) plastic-like roof that captures passive solar energy.
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