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Top Stories of 2013: Chilliwack says goodbye to its beloved gardens

Minter Gardens closed Thanksgiving weekend. Founder, Brian Minter, seen here with daughter Lisa Minter-Busten, says he’s looking forward to spending more time with his grandchildren, Katie and Sam Busten.  - JENNA HAUCK/ PROGRESS File
Minter Gardens closed Thanksgiving weekend. Founder, Brian Minter, seen here with daughter Lisa Minter-Busten, says he’s looking forward to spending more time with his grandchildren, Katie and Sam Busten.
— image credit: JENNA HAUCK/ PROGRESS File

It’s been painful for Chilliwack to watch Minter Gardens close its doors for good.

It was a huge part of Chilliwack, but revenues never rebounded after the global recession.

Minter Gardens was done in by a combination of declining tourism and climate change.

The Minter family announced last summer plans to close the doors of the sprawling 32-acre show gardens site at the foot of Mt. Cheam in Rosedale in October.

They had mixed feelings about it, but decided to keep the store on Young Road open.

“Minter Gardens has been a huge part of our lives,” said Brian Minter.

It was “difficult” to make the final decision.

“It was a once-in-a-lifetime dream to create one of the most beautiful gardens in the world. Few people have the opportunity to live out their dreams so we consider ourselves truly blessed.”

Minter Gardens closed on Monday, October 14, 2013.

The garden decision did not affect the Country Garden Store location on Young Road in Chilliwack.

Since opening in 1980, the gardens became a huge international destination site for horticultural fans.

“However, in more recent years, the attraction has felt the pressure of declining tourism and a changing climate that offers up more cold, rainy days than the abundantly sunny ones that attract visitors to the grounds,” read the press release of the closure announcement.

“Together, these factors have significantly impacted the long-term viability of operating an outdoor destination garden.”

Update: The Minters are working on the next steps, exploring options where it could be redeveloped into an environment and community friendly way to make the “best use” of the natural setting and landscape features.

jfeinberg@theprogress.com

Twitter.com/chwkjourno

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