Parkland Nurseries and Garden Centre received national recognition earlier this month.
The Red Deer business was named Destination Garden Centre of the Year during the Canadian Garden Council’s 2023 Canadian Garden Tourism Awards during the International Garden Tourism Conference in Victoria, B.C., on Nov. 2.
“I was extremely humbled because of the various people in the room at the time – it was my first time at a tourism conference like that,” said Gloria Beck, Parkland Nurseries and Garden Centre owner.
“At the same time, I was very proud of all of the work that we’ve done, to become a tourist destination using our display gardens. It’s been noticed.
“I’m grateful for the great team of staff members I have. They’ve made it possible to receive an award like that. It was a real honour and a surprise.”
In 1982, Beck and her brother Dwayne purchased Parkland Nurseries and Garden Centre, and decided to make the business a year-round operation. They later split the company and now Beck owns the retail garden centre.
Today, Parkland Nurseries and Garden Centre is a large retail garden centre with greenhouse production, landscape design, perennial production, outdoor plant area, tropical house with unique plants, and an array of garden supplies and giftware.
A destination garden centre is a site people will make a point to visit when travelling, Beck explained.
“Gardening is one of the top leisure activities. People will take holidays and go to a garden centre as part of their holidays,” Beck said.
“When people in Red Deer have guests and those guests are into gardening, they come out and tour the garden centre. We have a lot of tourists come out here.”
Projects like the centre’s annual ice sculpture display have helped the site become a destination, she added.
“Those are things we’ve worked on over the years,” said Beck.
“I have to thank the community who bring their guests out to the centre or come out themselves to enjoy what we do here, whether it be an event or the gardens. We like when people come out and enjoy the peacefulness we have here.”
Overall, 12 awards were handed out at the 2023 Canadian Garden Tourism Awards. A Top 10 Canadian Gardens Worth Travelling For list was released as well – the only Alberta garden on the list was Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden in Lethbridge.