Butchart Gardens has been an ideal example of sustainable entrepreneurship from its inception in 1904.
The beginnings were humble, as Jennie Butchart sought to create beauty in an otherwise undesirable space. As her husband’s quarry on their property emptied, she arranged for tonnes of top soil to be brought in by horse and cart and used it to line the quarry floor. Her vision grew into the Sunken Garden. The floral aspirations didn’t stop there, as the Butcharts, under Jennie’s direction, established a Japanese garden, an Italian garden and a rose garden. It didn’t take long for the space’s reputation to grow and by the 1920s more than 50,000 people were visiting annually.
Over the years that followed, generations of Butcharts have brought their own ideas to The Gardens, always committed to the beauty of the space and the notion that it should be shared with others. The Gardens now attract almost a million people annually. They come to see the blooms, and over the years cultural attractions such as a variety show, symphony concerts and the immensely popular Magic of Christmas display.
Underneath the show, lies a deep commitment to sustainability and natural spaces. The Butcharts and the gardeners they employed were committed to sustainability long before “green” became a buzz word. It started with the notion of re-envisioning a cement quarry into a vital green space, and continues through responsible pest and plant management, recycling and building operations. Such a commitment is evident in The Gardens’ focus on hand weeding around more than a million bedding plants throughout the property.
The legacy started by Jennie and Robert Butchart is now under the care of their great-grand daughter Robin-Lee Clark. Under her stewardship, the iconic attraction remains true to its roots as she builds on the legacy entrusted to her.
For The Gardens’ vision on beauty, community and business, Royal Roads University is proud to present Butchart Gardens for the Chancellor’s Community Recognition Award.