Up until last week, the gem of a community space had been closed since November 2020.
For months, a sign on the gardens’ front gate read: “Due to the current pandemic, COVID-19, Park & Tilford Gardens will be closed for the winter season and reopen in the new year.”
After first aiming for a spring reopening, property management company BentallGreenOak officially flung open the gates to the gardens again on June 15.
“We are following the guidelines as laid out by the province of B.C. and continue to work with local public health officials to ensure full adherence to their guidance and any applicable orders that are in place,” stated Leeza Vasiliev, BentallGreenOak property manager, in an emailed statement.
Since reopening, a number of new COVID-era protocols have been put in place, such as hand sanitizer stations throughout the gardens and one-way arrowed paths leading from the gardens' front gate out the exit by the nearby Rona.
Visitors to the free-to-enter botanical gardens, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2019 and is home to eight themed garden displays, are encouraged to wander through the gardens as opposed to loitering among the flora.
“There’s lots to be seen in the gardens and it needs to be enjoyed,” said Ann Pentland, who sits on the Gardens Review Board along with representatives from the City of North Vancouver and BentallGreenOak. "Really, we just want to get the word out there to everybody to come and visit the gardens.”
The review board is an independent, appointed body established by the City of North Vancouver to oversee maintenance of the gardens.
Pentland is also a volunteer gardener and the past president of the Friends of the Gardens Society.
She and the rest of the FOGS are thrilled the gardens have reopened, saying it will now be easier for them to get their hands dirty doing what they love best.
“The whole garden is looking very lovely right now actually. It’s good that it’s open,” said Pentland. “We’ve been concentrating on getting the herb garden back up to snuff.”
The gardens' current hours of operation are from 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week, but are subject to change, according to BentallGreenOak.