A celebration fit for a Queen… or two.

Last night the Gardens hosted a triple celebration.
It was a magical evening celebrating Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee with the unveiling of the newly restored Victoria Jubilee Fountain, which coincided with Nocturne: Art at Night.
The evening began at the Uncommon Grounds Cafe at Horticultural Hall, with a reception to thank the donors who made this restoration possible.
The gates were opened at 7PM to welcome the public to view the unveiling of the fountain and the enchantment of wandering through parts of the Gardens at night.
They came in droves, carrying the commemorative flags given out at the gates and headed for the fountain which could be seen glowing in the distance. As you got closer Handel’s Water Music could be heard along with the sound of the water flowing through the fountain. It was a mesmerizing sight!
At the bandstand, large screens displayed video footage and photo’s of the unveiling of the original fountain in 1897.
The carpet bed bearing the same image as the commemorative flags was also lit up.
A whimsical touch (and one popular with all age groups), was a large poster of Queen Victoria with her face cut out. People were lined up to have their photo’s taken.
Inside the Uncommon Grounds Cafe, The Friends of the Public Gardens handed out commemorative pins and directed the public to one of the most popular attractions of the evening… the live statue of Egeria, the nymph who graces the top of the fountain.
The evening was a resounding success!

Late afternoon of Nocturne at the Halifax Public Gardens

The calm before an exciting evening. The Gardens close for 2 hours to prepare. The screens have already been put in place at the bandstand. As you can see… the Gardens are still lovely.

Victorian folly at the Halifax Public Gardens

Photo op… who can resist?

Donor's reception at the unveiling of the Victoria Jubilee Fountain

A reception was held to thank the donor’s whose contributions made the restoration of the fountain and the bandstand possible. A sincere ‘Thank You’ from all of us.

Horticultural Hall on Nocturne 2012

Let the fun begin!

Past images of the Halifax Public Gardens on Nocturne 2012

Vintage photo’s and video’s of the Gardens were displayed on the screens throughout the night.

Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Carpet bed

The Royal cypher of Queen Elizabeth II graces the carpet bed and commemorative flags handed out to the public.

Egeria live at the Halifax Public Gardens

After the fountain, the live statue of Egeria was the main attraction. Most people didn’t realize she was real until someone pointed it out. Word spread like wildfire and they came to Horticultural Hall wanting to see for themselves. She stood , still as a statue for 4 hours!!!!

Victoria Jubilee Fountain at the Halifax Public Gardens Nocturne 2012

The piece de resistance!
The unveiling began with a reading by Tanya Davis, Poet Laureate of a moving poem she composed for the occasion.
Then, accompanied by the sounds of flowing water, Handel’s Water Music played to an ever-changing light show illuminating the fountain. It was hard to pick my favorite color as they each brought out a different detail and mood. It was just as magical viewed from across the expanse of the Gardens, where she seemed to float eerily in space. People stood for ages in the cold just soaking it all in.

If you would like to watch a video of the lit fountain click here.

Color renditions of the fountain

Restoring a century old fountain is not a job for the faint of heart. Scott Smith by all accounts won the hearts and rested the minds of those involved, by taking charge of the restoration and not fainting during the process. Not only did the structure have to be dismantled, fixed and re-assembled (in the midst of one of the busiest tourist attractions in Halifax), but the artists and professionals  who worked on her had to stay true to her origins while employing 21st century materials and innovations.
The committee set up these color renditions (courtesy of Lynda Shalagan) and images of the original fountain to decide how she would look.

The artists of the Victoria Jubilee Fountain

Lynda Shalagan and Kellie McIvor (who did the Cultural Asset Study on the artifacts in the Gardens), let their hair down (figuratively) at the reception. Lynda, Kellie and Tracy (a multi talented gardener at the Gardens) were responsible for the beautiful (and laborious) finish on the new statue. Beautiful job ladies, Thank You!

Co-chairs of the Victoria Jubilee Campaign

Last but definitely not least, this restoration as well as the restoration of the bandstand wouldn’t have been possible without the work of the Co-chairs of the Victoria Jubilee Campaign, Judith Cabrita and Sheila Fougère and their committee.
They have all worked tirelessly to bring about this special event and most important, through their vision, they have ensured that future generations will continue to enjoy these iconic symbols of the Halifax Public Gardens.

And thank you to the unsung hero, Bev MacPhail, Chief Horticulturist of the Public Gardens, who always facilitates the turning of those visions into reality.

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4 thoughts on “A celebration fit for a Queen… or two.

  1. The Public Garden’s in Halifax is a most beautiful peaceful place to just sit on a bench and watch
    people go by i took my first picture in like 1945 of my Mom & Dad in front of the beautiful fountain…..

  2. Saturday night was very special – even though it was very cool – it was fun walking around the Gardens at night. The lights, music and bustling crowds made it just GREAT. Enjoyed coffee in the Horticultural House, chatting with various folks and warming up! Great evening! Super photographs.

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