THUNDER BAY - With spring just around the corner, people are already seeing green and dreaming of warm days spent in the garden. In order to get people ready, the Thunder Bay Conservatory offered a glimpse of things to come.
On Sunday, the Friends of the Thunder Bay Conservatory hosted Spring into Life, a day that included free music, food, family activities, and a breadth of green, living things at the Centennial Botanical Conservatory, where everyone thinking of spring.
“The first day of spring, when everybody is starting to get ready and excited about planting, we think it’s a really good time to bring people to the greenness so they can see it while they are waiting for things to sprout in their garden,” said Sharon Sidlar, co-chair with the Friends of the Thunder Bay Conservatory.
Dozens of people of all ages stopped by the Conservatory on Sunday. Sidlar said the annual event, now in its third year, is a great opportunity to showcase what the Conservatory has to offer the city of Thunder Bay.
“We want people to see the beautiful and lush gardens that we have here in Thunder Bay,” she said. “This is a treasure basically. It’s been an oasis for the cold for a lot of people. So encouraging people to come and encouraging people to spend time here is a real goal of ours.”
Sidlar added that seeing so many people come out, especially families and children, is really exciting for the Friends of the Conservatory.
“We love to have events where both adults and children can come,” she said. “We are trying to encourage children to love gardening as well and become a part of it and hopefully we will see them again in the summer time when we have the community garden and a children’s garden as well.”
Leah Jardine and her children, four-year-old, Aja-Jane and two-year-old, Hendrix, were preparing pea seeds for planting so they can watch them grow at home. Jardine said the Conservatory is often a destination for her and her family.
“We often come to the Conservatory,” she said. “Aja-Jane likes coming and sometimes will bring a sketch book and draw plants.”
“It’s just a nice, quiet place to come,” she added. “Except for today.”
Jacqueline Dyck was visiting the Conservatory with her mother and grandmother on Sunday for the first time in many years, and she said she was taken aback by how beautiful it is inside.
“It’s a lot more beautiful than I remember it being and it’s really cool that Thunder Bay has something like this,” she said.
Last week, the city’s Forestry and horticulture section released more than 9,000 lady bugs into the Conservatory, which help take care of pest insects that harm the plants. But even with so many released, they are not the easiest to find.
“We heard about the bug event that happened the other day and we wanted to come and see if we could spot any lady bugs,” Dyck said. “We haven’t spotted one yet. We are on a race to find one.”
Dyck added that her return to the Conservatory has her looking ahead to spring and warmer weather, but she is thankful that the city has something like this to offer all year round, given the long and cold winters.
“Living in such a cold, non-tropical climate I think this is a beautiful addition,” she said. “It’s a great place for families to come and take their kids and come and take pictures. It’s obviously very popular. The kids are loving it. It’s a great learning experience for all these children, getting to see the new plants and bugs. It’s awesome.”