The International Peace Garden (IPG) is community-based. “Our goal is to engage communities, provide information and ask questions to gain important feedback,” said Melinda Goodman, IPG Director of Marketing & Communications. And to that end, Goodman along with Tim Chapman, CEO facilitated a Community Listening and Information Forum in Deloraine on March 2 at the Municipal Chambers.
“We have lots of new staff and we’re eager to hear suggestions from the surrounding communities.
“Some of the big things we have planned include capital improvements — many structures are almost 90 years old. The early infrastructure needs to be either replaced or updated. The 1980’s were the heyday for the garden and for the past 20 or so years there hasn’t been much work done. People have enjoyed it but there was no maintenance plan for the past 20 years. There are 200+ structures at the garden — we need a plan,” said Goodman.
Other big items on the agenda:
* Upgrading the utilities of the 40+ campground sites
* Expanding the conservatory which houses 5,000 + unique species. It is one of the largest collections in the world and recently grew with the donation of a hardy cacti collection from a Winnipeg collector in the summer of 2020. “Although the conservatory is year-round, it is not thought of that way – we must work to change that perception,” added Goodman.
* Historic Lodge needs stone work
* Develop youth play area – bring more families in, make it accessible
* Upgrades to waterworks, irrigation and sewer systems 30-40 years old
* Needs for upgraded seasonal and full time staff housing
* Repairs to Peace Chapel
Note: Due to pandemic, these dates may be changed
The garden utilizes a volunteer program and are always in need of more people. A worker bee program has been planned for May 16 for a garden clean up and on June 1 there will be a planting day. The Formal Beds will be designed in such a way to celebrate Manitoba’s 150 — to depict fields, rivers, etc, colour patterns – tartan for example.
“Volunteers are needed all year long for gardening, maintenance, information, and tours. We will be finalizing a tour program to train tour guides for the Conservatory and garden for weekend tours to tell the story and history of the Peace Garden. We also need to train existing staff to offer the same service.” If you wish to volunteer, please schedule a week in advance. You will receive a reduced price annual membership if you volunteer six hours or more. The membership includes year-round admission, a t-shirt, admission into invite only events, reduced price tickets for special entertainment and such.
A yearly membership to the IPG is $40, which is good for you and your spouse (or significant other) to gain entrance, a vote at the AGM, unlimited visits to IPG and other reciprocal botanical gardens in the U.S. and Canada.
“We wish to change the perception of the garden to be thought of as a place for Arts, Culture, Entertainment and Recreation Programming. It is first and foremost a garden, however we need to give the next generation reasons to come.” For instance a triathlon is in the works for July 4 and 5 which should attract around 500 people, and will include a kids race and training programs. “Geocaching is huge, and while there are some of these in place, Manitoba and North Dakota can work together to develop more sites. There is also a yoga retreat planned for September and it is open to all, and a new event — Founder’s Day which will include a History of Country Music Concert on July 11.
Goodman says Heritage is a big attraction to tourists and one of IPG’s goals is to host a Citizenship Ceremony in partnership with the Manitoba 150 celebration.
“We’re partnering with the First Nations in a Standing Rock Flag Raising Day on July 18. We wish to reach out to all the tribes and form a First Nation interpretive garden.”
Kids Garden Days will be held on July 25, Manitoba 150 Celebrations event August 8 and 9 and a Gala in the Garden on August 21.
“We really want to work at year-long programming and utilizing the structures available at the garden to their full capacity. Some ideas are in the works for a fall festival, Christmas lighting and programming, quilting retreats, and a family friendly performing arts series (drama, comedy, musical theatre). We really want people to use it as a destination. We want to have more for seniors, more families, more everybody” added Goodman.
Much of the programming at the garden depends on grants and sponsorship. Tax deductible receipts are issued to donors.
Elise Wood, Business Development Specialist with Travel Manitoba was also in attendance. She said the Travel Trade in Manitoba is looking for live performance opportunities. “Manitoba is a hot spot right now. There are many bus tour opportunities for various venues. For instance, a half day to a day-long is perfect for the empty-nester crowd. There is also an opportunity to be added to the Open Farm Day circuit. And, as always, school groups form a large group of potential visitors.”
The sky is the limit when it comes to possibilities for the International Peace Garden, and under the guidance of Melinda Goodman and Tim Chapman the garden is in good hands. They are eager, in tune to tourist trends, welcoming and open to any and all suggestions. The garden is virtually in our back yard — let this be the year you visit at least once.
Note: If you wish to volunteer, please contact Melinda at 204-534-2510 or email firstname.lastname@example.org Tim at email@example.com .