Friday 2 March 2012

The Movie Theatre Garden

I love coming upon the unexpected, especially where gardens are concerned. I found this one a few years ago while killing time between one ferry and the next. It belongs to the Patricia Theatre in the National Historic District of Powell River.

Powell River, for those who have yet to discover it, is an enchanting area on the upper Sunshine Coast of British Columbia. It seems only a relatively few people know of it, but those who do are completely drawn into its magic. In fact I ended up missing the next two ferries and had to rush to catch the last one. I would have dearly loved to stay but we had family (im)patiently waiting for us further down the coast.

Ann Nelson runs the theatre and maintains the garden and holds down a day job to help cover costs.  Her indomitable spirit has recently suffered a serious dent as the venerable 98 yr old theatre, the oldest continuously running theatre in BC, perhaps all of Canada, is under threat. The cost of essential modernization is, at this point, beyond Ann’s means. All over North America we are losing these beautiful old theatres. If the Patricia goes Ann loses her home and livelihood, the community loses a cultural and social resource and what will happen to the garden is anybody's guess.
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Photographs: Nicole Narbonne,


  1. What an incredible garden and story! I would have missed a couple of ferries, too. If her theatre were considered so retro it was cool, she might have investors who help her maintain it. I'm adding your blog to my Blogroll. :o)

  2. Thanks for adding my blog to your roll. I have a stinking cold so it served as a welcome pick me up. As for the movie theatre, it is in an isolated community (no roads) so very much dependent on the local population. It is Spanish Mission style, beautiful inside and out. I am contacting media outlets to see if I can drum up some interest.

  3. Thank You for getting the message about the Patricia out to others beyond Powell River. I am so glad that you enjoyed the garden - I am working away trying to rejuvenate the beds this year in preparation for the old gal's 100th birthday next year. Ann has a lot of knowledge about plants, herbs and heirloom roses. I am learning a lot as I work, but take the time to stop and enjoy the scenery. Nina M in PR

  4. I envy you having the opportunity to work in the garden. It is a labour of love I'm sure. I'd really like some occasional updates if you have time. I'll be out for a visit June(ish). Let me know if it is O.K. to drop by.