Sir Henry Thornton, K.B.E. (1871-1933)

Sir Henry Worth Thornton, K.B.E. (1871-1933) was the second President of Canadian National Railways. He is credited with the original idea for the Italian Garden at the Butchart Gardens.

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……”

Here are some websites with more information about Sir Henry Thornton:

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