JARS v50n3 - Plan Now for ARS Convention '97: Vancouver, B.C.

Plan Now for ARS Convention '97: Vancouver, B.C.
Where East Meets West
Ray Talbot
West Vancouver, British Columbia Canada

The 52nd ARS Annual Convention will be held in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, May 7-11,1997. The City of Vancouver, Canada's gateway to the Pacific, was named for Captain George Vancouver who, together with surgeon/botanist Archibald Menzies, surveyed and charted the coast of British Columbia in 1792. Lying on the shores of Burrard Inlet, Vancouver is today a beautiful modern city with its backdrop of Coast Range mountains towering across the Inlet, its south slopes washed by the mighty Fraser River as it sweeps out to sea. A temperate, maritime climate allied with soils ideal for growing a wide range of rhododendrons provides an ideal meeting place for rhododendron lovers from around the world to convene.

ARS '97 Convention logo

The site chosen for the Convention is Vancouver's downtown resort hotel - the Westin Bayshore. Dramatically sited on the shores of Coal Harbour next door to thousand-acre Stanley Park, the hotel features fine guest rooms with floor to ceiling sliding glass windows offering superb views of the mountains, city or harbour. The hotel has an indoor health club complete with saunas, whirlpool, gym and pool; restaurants and shops; a lively outdoor pool overlooking the marina where fishing trips, sightseeing or dinner cruises can be arranged. Right outside the door spacious walking and bike trails lead into Stanley Park, where many lovely rhododendrons and azaleas are to be found as well as the Ted and Mary Greig Rhododendron Garden with its superb collection of scented auriculatum hybrids, plus some 300 azaleas. Sited on the south banks of Lost Lagoon alongside the Pitch and Putt course, this garden is carefully sited in the natural forest with towering native trees standing sentinel over a fine magnolia collection along with many exotic trees including larches ( Larix ssp.), dawn redwoods ( Metasequoia glyptostroboides ), swamp cypress ( Taxodium distichum ) and tree of heaven ( Ailanthus altissima ).

The Westin Bayshore, 
Vancouver, B.C.
The Westin Bayshore, Vancouver, B.C., Canada,
the site of the 1997 ARS Annual Convention.

East of the hotel walking paths lead past marinas and charter boat docks to Canada Place where the Alaska cruise ships tie alongside. Walkways lead right around Canada Place Convention Centre and Cruise Ship Terminal offering sweeping views of the Inner Harbour, Stanley Park, and the North Shore Mountains. The hotel has a complimentary shuttle to take visitors uptown for more shopping and sightseeing.

An exciting Convention program is planned featuring guest speakers from around the world. The garden tours will include an amazing mix of gardens located on steep forested mountainside slopes, serene woodlands, and seashore slopes designed to amply demonstrate the variety of ways local rhododendron lovers have enhanced their personal landscapes with the use of their favourite plants. A vast collection of both species, many collected in the wild, and hybrids, many of which were hybridized locally, will be seen in these gardens, growing in lively surroundings featuring many fine native and exotic trees, shrubs, perennials and groundcovers.

An assortment of pre- and post-convention tours have been organized. These will include one or two day visits to Vancouver Island covering Victoria, Duncan, Parksville and Tofino.

There have already been many inquiries about Alaska cruises and rail trips to the Canadian Rockies. As these trips are extremely popular, it is essential that these tours be booked as early as possible to avoid disappointment. Convention delegates are requested to book these tours directly from travel agents. At time of writing there is still space available for the 1997 season, but if you want to follow in Captain Vancouver's path up the Inland Waterways and beyond, you had better get your tickets fast!

There are two botanical gardens in Vancouver, both featuring remarkable collections of species and hybrid rhododendrons. The David Lam Garden at the University of British Columbia is the home of the Asian Garden with its superb collection of fine species rhododendrons and azaleas grown under a high canopy of native forest trees interspersed with some lovely exotics including a collection of species magnolias. The VanDusen Botanical Garden also has a fine collection of hybrid and species rhododendrons and azaleas grown in a lovely garden filled with fine collections of trees and shrubs, and a vast array of garden and wilderness plants. Details regarding the many gardens to be seen will be included in later issues of this Journal.

Sports and outdoors lovers will find Vancouver a splendid area to visit. Many opportunities for fishing, sailing and cruising start right from the hotel. Golfers can enjoy everything from the famous Stanley Park Pitch and Putt public course to many world renowned golf clubs in the area. Tennis courts are close by and bike rentals are available for riding the many bike and roller blade paths around Stanley Park and around the waterways to Kitsilano Beach. Downhill ski enthusiasts can enjoy the world famous slopes of Whistler/Blackcomb Mountains just 75 miles north of the city. Blackcomb Mountain will have daily skiing until the final week of May.

So start making plans for Convention 97 now - your Vancouver hosts are looking forward to meeting you!