City looking to end of June opening
The Devonian Gardens has been closed since 2008 for renovations. Calgarians can now look forward to the grand reveal of the showcase space in the summer of this year.
The Gardens were closed after being open for 34 years without any significant renovations or infrastructure upgrades. After the massive renovation, the fish will be the only holdovers from the pre-renovation Devonian Gardens – everything else is brand new.
The 2.5 acre or one hectare space that takes up almost half of the fourth floor in The Core downtown mall has been changed significantly since 2008. Kyle Ripley, Manager of Planning and Development Services South, Parks, says crews demolished the area right down to the concrete slab floors. The floor configuration of the gardens has also been changed to allow the natural light from the three block long skylight to filter down to the floors below.
The new Devonian Gardens will feature three ponds that hold over 60,000 gallons of water, several large water features that will be the home to the koi fish. There will also be improved public washrooms, event facilities and playground like spaces where kids can play. The area will be more energy efficient and the garden staff will have to spend less time maintaining the gardens.
Part of the vision of the updated city space was to allow the Devonian Gardens to generate revenue. With that in mind, there has been a lease-hold space added to the design, which will accomodate a restaurant. The restaurant with the winning bid will be announced later this year and Kyle Ripley says the restaurant will hopefully be open before the end of 2012.
Over the weekend, crews brought in 40 large trees and 170 smaller trees. That is no small feat considering the trees had to be moved by cranes up to the garden area. Once the gardens are open, Calgarians will have access to the space from the two +15s on either side of the Devonian Gardens. There will also be three terraces of seating available to the public.
“Its been closed for quite some time, we recognize that, but we wanted to take our time”, says Ripley. ”Make sure we were getting the design right, make sure we executed the construction properly, make sure the quality of the gardens are something Calgarians are expecting when it re-opens.”