The original idea for the Italian Garden came about in 1925 and construction of the Italian Garden began in 1926 on what had formerly been the site of the Butcharts’ tennis court.
Here is an explanatory excerpt from Chapter 7 of our Butchart Gardens History:
“…..The Italian Garden was created in 1926 on the site of the Butchart’s outdoor tennis court.
The idea for the Italian Garden originated in a conversation at Benvenuto between Robert Butchart and a guest, Sir Henry Thornton, KBE (1871-1933), the Chairman of the Canadian National Railway. Thornton suggested to Robert Butchart that the Butcharts’ tennis court should be turned into a garden. Robert Butchart thought this was an interesting idea and suggested to Thornton that they each draw a garden plan and then compare their respective drawings. Later that evening, they did.
After seeing the two plans, Robert Butchart was so intrigued by Thorton’s idea that he sent his plan, and Thornton’s, to the Butcharts’ favourite architect, Samuel Maclure, with a request that Maclure use the drawings to design a new garden. Samuel Maclure came up with the Italian Garden……”
1929 Addition To The East Side Of Benvenuto and the Italian Garden
In 1928 architect Samuel Maclure designed an addition to the east side of Benvenuto running north-south along the east side of the Italian Garden. It was to be the last major work Samuel Maclure did for Robert Butchart and Jennie Butchart before his death in 1929.
Postcard of the Italian Garden, looking east, circa 1926-1928, prior to the construction of the 1929 addition to Benvenuto on the east side of the Italian Garden. The arbour in the photo was designed by architect Samuel Maclure in 1925. (Author’s collection)
Postcard of the Italian Garden, looking south toward Benvenuto, circa 1926-1928, prior to the construction of the 1929 addition to Benvenuto on the east side (left) of the Italian Garden. (Author’s collection)
Here are some photos of the same views after construction of the 1929 addition to Benvenuto.
Here are links to some more historic photographs of the Italian Garden:
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