Queen Elizabeth Park is a 52-hectare park and is one of the most beautiful parks in the world. In fact, it is second, only to Stanley Park in annual visits. And sees nearly six-million people a year.
Queen Elizabeth Park beginnings
In 1919, the Canadian Pacific Railway offered this real estate to the Vancouver Park Board. However, they declined at the time. In 1929, they decided to buy. Now an abandoned eyesore but still contained two reservoirs for the city's drinking water.
In 1930, the BC Tulip Association suggested transforming the quarries into sunken gardens. In 1939, the Vancouver Park Board took over. It was dedicated by King George VI. Along with his consort, Queen Elizabeth (the current Queen's mother). On their visit to Vancouver in 1939.
Queen Elizabeth Arboretum
In 1949 a grant from the Canadian Pulp and Paper Association (CPPA) was given to the Arboretum. The first plantings were done on the north slopes of the park. By a group of Junior Forest Wardens. They began by planting blocks of ponderosa pine, subalpine spruce, and Douglas fir. Most of the larger trees in the park are now about 60 years old.
Planting continues to this day. To create what has been called “Canada’s first Civic Arboretum". There are now about 1,500 trees. Creating a beautiful greenbelt.
Bloedel Floral Conservatory
The most philanthropic donation was from lumber industrialist Prentice Bloedel. His $1.25 million went towards adding a roof to the reservoirs and building the country's first geodesic conservatory. Surrounded by covered walkways, lighted fountains and a magnificent sculpture "Knife Edge - Two Piece" by modern artist Henry Moore.
The Bloedel Floral Conservatory opened on December 6, 1969, amidst much celebration. With a varied climate and a huge variety of plants. Along with a superb selection of free-flying tropical birds. In 1972 the Conservatory received the Vincent Massey Award for excellence in the urban environment
Sculptures, Pitch & Putt, Celebration Pavilion
The Pitch & Putt was added in 1963. the popular Photo Session sculpture by J. Seward Johnson, Jr., and the Lions Clock (1995). The clock is located on the entry plaza in front of the Bloedel Conservatory.
The Queen Elizabeth Park Plaza adjacent to the Conservatory opened in 2007. At a cost of $6 million. The 1.2 hectare area includes seven covered tai-chi arbours, ornamental gardens, the Celebration Pavilion, and the dramatic “Dancing Waters” fountain.