March 16, 2011

WINNERS OF THE 2011 GARDEN TOURISM AWARDS

Toronto, Canada . . . March 15, 2011 . . . A new awards ceremony tradition was started today at the closing event of Canada’s Garden Tourism Conference.    

The Garden Tourism Awards are presented to organizations and individuals who have distinguished themselves in the development and promotion of the garden experience as a tourism attraction. 

The Honourable Peter Kent, Canada’s Environment Minister, was on hand to congratulate the winners and said, “Whether internationally-known like the Montréal Botanical Garden and Vancouver Island’s Butchart Gardens, or known primarily to local visitors, like the oasis of green in the midst of Toronto’s crowded concrete highways at Fort York National Historic Site, gardens are a Canadian natural treasure and must be protected and preserved and, most importantly, enjoyed by Canadians and visitors alike.” 

Michel Gauthier, Chair of the Ontario Garden Tourism Coalition, closed the conference saying, “Given the enormous number of Canadian and American travellers – almost 27 million, as quoted in the latest TAMS report -- who include visiting Canadian gardens among the top ten things they want to do while on a holiday, it’s high time that Canada’s many and varied garden experiences are recognized as a tourism product.”   

In the spirit of highlighting Canada and the world’s most vibrant garden experiences and Garden Tourism’s limitless potential, Canada’s Garden Tourism Conference, in consultation with various Canadian and international associations, are proud to announce the first recipients of The Garden Tourism Awards.  

CANADIAN GARDEN TOURISM AWARDS  

1.Garden Tourism Garden of the Year:  
Butchart Gardens, BC 
•  sponsored by Canadian Nursery & Landscape Association 

2.Garden Tourism Person of the Year 
Alexander Reford, QC 
•  sponsored by Baxter Travel Media 

3.Garden Tourism Festival of the Year:  
Canada Blooms, ON 
•  sponsored by Canadian Tourism Commission  

4.Garden Tourism Event of the Year:  
The Magic of Lanterns, Montreal Botanical Garden -- QC 
•  sponsored by Canadian Tourism Commission 
    
5.Garden Tourism Initiative of the Year:  
War of 1812 Bicentennial Peace Garden Trail, USA/Canada 
•  sponsored by Horticulture Centre of the Pacific 

6.Garden Tourism Achievement Award 
Parks Canada, on the occasion of their 100th Anniversary 
•  sponsored by Canadian Nursery & Landscape Association 

INTERNATIONAL GARDEN TOURISM AWARDS  
1.  Garden Tourism Event of the Year 
Taipei International Flora Exposition, Taipei, Taiwan  
2.  Garden Tourism Achievement Award 
RHS Garden Wisley, London, UK   
3.  Garden Tourism Person of the Year:  
       Pascal Garbe, Garden Policy Manager, Moselle Region, France and Director,  
                                European Garden Tourism Conference.    

TOP FIVE NORTH AMERICAN GARDENS WORTH TRAVELLING FOR:    
1.  Desert Botanical GardenPhoenix, Arizona 
2.  Kingsbrae GardenSt Andrews, New Brunswick 
3.   Longwood GardensKennett Square, Pennsylvania 
4.   New York Botanical GardenNew York, New York  
5.   Royal Botanical GardensHamilton, Ontario 

The Patrons of The Garden Tourism Awards are:  Canada’s Garden Tourism Conference, Canadian Nursery & Landscape Association (CNLA), Canadian Garden Tourism Council and Baxter Travel Media.   

The Garden Tourism Awards are supported by:  Ontario and BC Garden Tourism Coalitions, Associations des Grands Jardins du Québec, Landscape Ontario Horticultural Trades Association (LO) and Communities in Bloom. 

The Garden Tourism Conference 
The Garden Tourism Conference takes place every other year in Toronto, Canada.  In recognition of the importance of Gardens and garden experiences as tourism generators, it is the opportunity to showcase best practices of both the Garden and Tourism industries in order to grow both sectors.  The latest TAMS (Travel Activity and Motivation Study, commissioned by Federal and Provincial tourism ministries) indicates that a whopping 27 million Canadians and Americans visit the spectacular gardens and garden-focused communities of Canada in any given year, and consider doing so among the top ten things they want to do while on an overnight trip of one or more days.      

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For information, media only, please contact: 
Carol Cowan 
Zebra Promotions Inc. 
zebra@passport.ca or ph:416-929-1066