Muttart Conservatory
The Muttart Conservatory is a botanical garden located in the North Saskatchewan river valley, across from downtown Edmonton. The conservatory consists of four glass, pyramid-shaped structures that showcase plants from arid, tropical, and temperate climates, providing a welcome oasis of warmth during winter. The fourth pyramid hosts a theme that changes throughout the year. A donation from the Gladys and Merrill Muttart Foundation provided momentum for the conservatory's construction, with the remaining monies supplied by the Province of Alberta and the City of Edmonton. The conservatory is staffed and operated by the Edmonton Parks and Recreation Department. The conservatory's unusual structure, designed by architect Peter Hemingway is composed of four glassed pyramids built around a central service core. The two larger' pyramids are 660 square meters in area, and the two medium-sized ones are 410 square meters in size. Three of the pyramids are devoted to displays of plants from the tropical, temperate, and arid regions respectively, the fourth being used for shows that change with the seasons and which feature massed displays of ornamental flowering plants. The Temperate Pavilion houses plants typical of temperate climes, from such zones as the southern Great Lakes, Australia, and even the mountainous areas of Asia. Near the entrance and fed by a stream is a bog area, with white water lilies and parrot's feather. The bog merges into a woodland with mostly eastern deciduous trees and low shrubs but including redwoods, cedars and pampas grass. Eucalyptus trees and flowering shrubs complement the Australian section. In the woodland floor and alpine section are many tiny flowering plants, some native to Alberta and others from all over the world. The barren, rocky slopes of the Arid Pavilion offer contrast to the other houses. The Tropical Pavilion provides an enormous diversity of species; under a canopy of tall palms, banana and weeping fig are orchids, various hibiscus and the bird of paradise, to mention a few. In a smaller pyramid, the Show Pavilion offers seasonal displays. Arriving with summer are geraniums, begonias, roses, and others. The Muttart Conservatory offers a Horticultural Extension Service, allowing the general public to receive expert help in the diagnoses of the ills of their plants, both indoors and out. The conservatory also teaches courses on the care of plants. The conservatory gift shop offers a wide variety of ornamental plants. Admission to the conservatory used to be free to the public but after a six month renovation on 28 July 2009 it was $9.75 C$. The facility, owned and operated by the City of Edmonton, is also a popular site for special events, such as weddings. Recently, the conservatory undergone a $6.3 million renovation that was completed in June 2009.

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