Palm trees, a waterfall and several lush gardens — all under one see-through roof — are just a few of the attractions featured in a new virtual tour of Canada's Diversity Gardens released Monday.
The video, unveiled online by the Assiniboine Park Conservancy, takes its audience through The Leaf — an indoor horticultural attraction — and new outdoor gardens that make up the Diversity Gardens project currently under construction in the southeast corner of the park.
The Canada’s Diversity Gardens project is the final major phase of the redevelopment plan for Assiniboine Park and Zoo that launched a decade ago. Other parts of the plan already open include the Nature Playground and the Journey to Churchill exhibit.
The Leaf, a key piece in the gardens project, is expected to open in late 2020.
Over the spring and summer, work will continue on construction of the roof cable net system to prepare for this fall's installation of the specialized ETFE (ethylene-tetra-fluoro-ethylene) roof.
"The Leaf is truly a unique and unparallelled project," Margaret Redmond, the president and CEO of the Assiniboine Park Conservancy said in a media release.
"From a design and construction point of view, this building is one of a kind. The next six months will be a critical period in the construction timeline."
The outdoor diversity gardens that will surround The Leaf include the Indigenous Peoples’ Garden, Kitchen Garden, Performance Garden, Sensory Garden, Seasonal Garden and The Grove.
Landscape work on the outdoor gardens, which got underway last year, will continue this spring and summer in preparation for initial planting later this fall and next spring. The opening of the outdoor diversity gardens will be influenced by the timing for completion of The Leaf, the conservancy said.
The conservancy said there has been a one-year delay in the construction timeline due to increased complexity for required steel work, and the overall design complexity of The Leaf.
The $97.8-million estimated cost for the project is expected to be funded by $79.5 million raised so far through funding from three levels of government, private donors, and other sources. Additional private donations are expected to be announced in the coming months.