By Christian Pollard
The Halifax Public Gardens will open this Wednesday, April 13th with a newly renovated bandstand.
The structure has been in the popular downtown park since it opened in 1887, and project aimed to make it resemble the original.
“It’s closer to what it originally looked like,” said Bev McPhail of Halifax region parks and recreation..
“There were several funding sources for this… the Federal Government, the friends of the Public Gardens, and HRM,” says McPhail.
The Gardens are a rare example of a formal Victorian garden and are considered a sanctuary amongst a Haligonians.
“People really appreciate that it’s a quiet place. It’s like a sanctuary in the middle of the city. People also appreciate the historical significance of it,“ says McPhail.
So many people enjoy the Gardens that last year that counters were installed on all the gates to keep accurate records of visitors numbers. Installed last June, the Public Gardens can now keep accurate statistics about their attendance for the first time ever.
“I can tell you for sure that in July and August we averaged over 5,000 visitors per day. On Canada Day last year we had over 13,000 people on the gardens,” says McPhail.
The estimated numbers for the entire summer (April 14th, 2010 – November 15th, 2010) were over 850,000.
The Public Gardens’ restoration projects will soon shift from the Victoria Bandstand to the Victoria Fountain. It was installed the year of
Queen Victoria’s diamond jubilee, when she celebrated 60 years on the throne. The city want to prepare it for Queen Elizabeth’s upcoming diamond jubilee in 2012.
“We want to raise money to restore that piece,” says McPhail.
“In the future, we may have to consider ways as a city to be able to raise some funds for some of the bigger ticket maintenance items, like the new bandstand – we’ll have to keep that maintained.”
Now that the attendance can be accurately measured, Halifax will know just how important the Public Gardens are to the people, and according to McPhail, that number will grow.
“The amount of people visiting the gardens is only going to go up.”
Listen to Bev McPhail talk about the Victoria Fountain: Mcphail interview