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Calgary’s Devonian Gardens fully reopened after two years of repairs

It took two years, but Devonian Gardens is now fully re-opened to the public.

And this time, the planters shouldn’t leak.

The indoor park located near the food court of the Core Shopping Centre has been a favourite place for office workers to eat their lunch, or for parents to bring their kids on a chilly day. But in July 2016, the city had to close off the park so work could be done to the planters.

David Harrison, project manager with City of Calgary, said after a revamp of the gardens it became apparent that some of the planters were leaking water into the floor below.

That meant workers had to empty the planting beds of the many live plants and trees, as well as the soil, for inspections.

“To get all that material out, store it, and have a look at the waterproofing layer – that was really the start of it,” said Harrison. “As we moved along, it became apparent there were more planters leaking than we thought.”

The work was still under warranty by the contractor, so there was no cost to taxpayers for the repairs.

Harrison said they saved most of the trees that were planted at the gardens, but did lose a few during the work.

“There was one tree, it was too successful and it just outgrew the space,” he said.

The Gardens’ koi ponds are always a hit with children.

Workers have added a bit more colour to the gardens with new flowers, according to Harrison.

On Tuesday, the second full day of the garden’s reopening, dozens were eating their lunch and relaxing in the gardens.

Basile Favel said he hadn’t been to the gardens since he was a child, and it was very much new to him.

“It seems much more busy than what I remember,” he said. “I’ve heard it’s difficult to get a seat in this area.”

Alexandra Ivanova, who had never seen the gardens before, was impressed.

“It’s a cool place to come – especially on a day like this,” she said. “I wanted to eat lunch outside and that’s not really an option today, so this is nice.”

Harrison said getting the gardens reopened was gratifying work.

“I hope people will be excited to come back,” he said.

“People seem to be flocking here.”