The Butchart Gardens, located 13 miles north of cosmopolitan Victoria, British Columbia in Canada, is now in its 101st year of existence.In 2005, the 500 millionth visitor is expected to enter those gardens to the north, which have become Canada’s No. 1 most visited private attraction. The attraction hosts 1.3 million local and foreign guests annually. During October, as the Butchart centennial passed, Robin Clarke, great-granddaughter of founders Robert Pim and ecologist Jennie Foster Butchart, accepted on behalf of her family the Tourism Industry Association of Canada’s “Lifetime Achievement Award” in recognition of the Butchart’s longstanding commitment to tourism and community development in the greater Victoria region. She has continued to oversee the gardens since 2001.
A former dry goods merchant, Butchart had pioneered manufacturing cement in 1888 near his birthplace of Owen Sound, Ontario. Highly successful, at the turn of the century he built a new factory and moved his family to the limestone deposit-rich ground of Vancouver Island where he benefited from British Columbia’s building boom. His plant ceased manufacturing cement in 1916, although the old vertical kiln old kiln continued to produce tiles and flower pots for the gardens as late as 1950.