Gage Park green­house to get $4.2M ren­o­va­tion

New de­sign will make con­ser­va­tory a unique ‘des­ti­na­tion’: ar­chi­tect

The Hamilton Spectator - - LOCAL - MATTHEW VAN DONGEN mvan­don­gen@thes­pec.com 905-526-3241 | @Mat­tatthes­pec

Birds and palm trees alike will soon be able to soar in Hamil­ton’s pop­u­lar Gage Park green­house.

A long-planned ren­o­va­tion of the sub­trop­i­cal green­house is fi­nally set to be­gin this sum­mer with a $4.2-mil­lion bud­get beefed up with a $350,000 do­na­tion from the Patrick J. McNally Char­i­ta­ble Foun­da­tion.

Draw­ings re­leased by ar­chi­tec­ture firm McCal­lum Sather show the ven­er­a­ble old pub­lic por­tion of the trop­i­cal green­house will be re­placed with a taller, more vis­i­tor­friendly 14,000-square-foot struc­ture that also adds ac­ces­si­ble bath­rooms to the site.

“It’s re­ally de­signed to pro­mote com­mu­nity space,” said ar­chi­tect Drew Hauser. “It’s go­ing to be an amaz­ing en­vi­ron­ment for plants and unique in Hamil­ton as a des­ti­na­tion.”

The green­house’s palm trees should love the new lofty ceil­ings that will al­low the sub­trop­i­cal plants — now oc­ca­sion­ally cut down to fit the space — to stretch up to 10 me­tres in height.

Reg­u­lar vis­i­tors will see an up­dated look for pop­u­lar wa­ter­falls, fish and tur­tles ponds. Vis­i­tors will also see a free-fly­ing take on pest con­trol in the form of a pro­posed colony of finches. Glued, lam­i­nated tim­ber sup­ports will be used in a nod to 19th cen­tury green­houses once con­structed out of teak.

“It’s go­ing to be beau­ti­ful and in­ter­ac­tive,” said Hauser, who cred­ited Coun. Matthew Green for keep­ing plan­ners fo­cused on mak­ing the fa­cil­ity func­tional but also a “com­mu­nity gath­er­ing place.”

Green ear­lier of­fered up ex­tra ward in­fra­struc­ture cash to in­crease the ini­tial bare-bones bud­get for the re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion, ar­gu­ing res­i­dents de­served more than a “new util­ity shed.”

The green­house will have gath­er­ing ar­eas in­side and out that can be used for ed­u­ca­tional or event spa­ces, Hauser said.

A new, ex­panded green­house has been called for since at least 2010 in the Gage Park mas­ter plan.

Shov­els should be in the ground in a few weeks.

MCCAL­LUM SATHER

Ren­der­ings from ar­chi­tec­ture firm McCal­lum Sather of the Gage Park green­house ren­o­va­tion project.

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