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A tropical getaway right in your own backyard

The Friends of the Thunder Bay Conservatory hosted an Afternoon in the Tropics on Sunday.
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THUNDER BAY - Even though temperatures have warmed up considerably from the -30C the region suffered through to start off the new year, it still very much looks and feels like winter out there. Luckily, there is a tropical getaway right in our own back yard.

On Sunday, the Friends of the Thunder Bay Conservatory hosted an Afternoon in the Tropics, providing people with an opportunity to enjoy live music, snacks, and games while taking in the exotic plants and flowers from much warmer locations around the world.

“Particularly on a winter afternoon it is nice to be able to come into a tropical greenspace and avoid the winter weather outside,” said Marilyn Stinson, the volunteer coordinator with the Friends of the Thunder Bay Conservatory.

Stinson said events at the Conservatory often draw in several hundred people and while it provides a nice escape from the winter weather, events like the one on Sunday are meant to remind the public of what the Conservatory has to offer.

“Our goal is trying to help remind the city how important and what an amazing venue this is,” Stinson said. “It’s a heritage building. We would really like to see it maintained and upgraded so it meets current safety standards.”

In 2013, falling glass from the roof led to a temporary closure of the facility. After it was reopened, two end rooms remain closed.

“Having these events is just reminding people that it is here and reminding city council that we do have a treasure that should be kept,” Stinson said.

Aside from keeping the Conservatory at the front of the public’s mind, an Afternoon in the Tropics was just a nice way to get out of the grey, cold, and damp weather that is greets the people of Thunder Bay every time they walk outside the door.

“Not everybody has the opportunity to go away to warmer climates during the winter time,” Stinson said. “But the conservatory is open seven days a week so people who want a little bit of a green fix and moist tropical air can come here, relax, and enjoy.”

“Often we forget about the treasures in our own neighbourhood,” Stinson continued. “We go do tourist things when we go away, but we forget about the things we have here.”