May 15, 2011
Canada’s Garden Tourism Conference held a new awards ceremony at the closing event of its bi-annual gathering in Toronto in mid-March.

The Garden Tourism Awards honoured organizations and individuals distinguishing themselves in the development and promotion of the garden experience as a tourism attraction.

Peter Kent, Canada’s Environment Minister, was at this year’s conference to congratulate the winners. He said, “Montréal Botanical Garden and Vancouver Island’s Butchart Gardens are  natural treasures and must be protected and preserved and, most importantly, enjoyed by Canadians and visitors alike.”

The first Garden Tourism Awards include: Garden of the Year, Butchart Gardens, B.C.; Person of the Year, Alexander Reford, Que.; Festival of the Year, Canada Blooms; Event of the Year, The Magic of Lanterns, Montreal Botanical Garden, Que.; Initiative of the Year, War of 1812 Bicentennial Peace Garden Trail, USA/Canada; Achievement Award, Parks Canada, on the occasion of its 100th anniversary.

International awards went to Garden Tourism Event of the Year, Taipei International Flora Exposition, Taiwan; Achievement Award, RHS Garden Wisley, London, U.K.; Person of the Year, Pascal Garbe, Garden Policy Manager, Moselle Region, France and Director, European Garden Tourism Conference.

Named the top five North American gardens worth travelling for: Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix, Ariz.; Kingsbrae Garden. St. Andrews, N.B.; Longwood Gardens. Kennett Square, Pa.; New York Botanical Garden. New York; Royal Botanical Gardens, Hamilton.

The Garden Tourism Awards are supported by Ontario and B.C. Garden Tourism Coalitions, Associations des Grands Jardins du Québec, Landscape Ontario Horticultural Trades Association and Communities in Bloom.