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Old Posted Dec 19, 2011, 4:21 PM
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SteelTown SteelTown is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2004
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Royal Botanical Garden

RBG’s Rock Garden gets $14 million investment


The Royal Botanical Garden’s Rock Garden is about to get a face lift.

The Provincial and Federal governments announced on Monday that together, they will give $14 million in funding to help with basic maintenance and upgrades of the Royal Botanical Garden’s first major display garden.

Mark Runciman, Royal Botanical Garden’s CEO, said the Rock Garden needs rejuvenation. With the exception of the tea house that was built in the mid sixties, there have been no other significant investments.

“We have leaky ponds, we have water features we have to re-do (and) it’s on a septic system so all of these things have to be improved,” said Runciman.

It will likely be two-year project that Runciman says will start as soon as possible.

The Honourable Ted McMeekin, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs was on hand to announce the $7 million contribution on behalf of the Ontario government and Mike Wallace, Member of Parliament for Burlington, announced Canada’s $7 million contribution on behalf of the Honourable Denis Lebel, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities.

The initiative is supported by the Building Canada Fund.

“It’s designed for infrastructure that will have a long-term lasting effect,” said Wallace.
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Old Posted Feb 10, 2013, 2:15 PM
thistleclub thistleclub is offline
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Red squirrels duke it out over precious peanuts
(Toronto Star, Niamh Skallan, Feb 09 2013)

The battle lines had been drawn and the stakes set high. When it was all over, one opponent would claim victory and the other cast away, empty-handed in defeat.

There they perched, two red squirrels united by their species but divided in battle, ready to fight to the bitter end atop a tree stump at Burlington’s Royal Botanical Gardens for the ultimate prize: a handful of peanuts.

And so it began, the first rodent to the pile scooping up a nut in his mouth. But that didn’t last long, with his opponent scrambling up the side of the stump toward him and knocking the nut from his grasp.

Soon, the pair began to spar like gladiators in a Coliseum, balancing on their two hind legs as they reached toward each other with their sharp claws until one sunk his teeth into the other’s arm.

Then came the final blow as one squirrel flipped the other over his head and onto another stump below. Victorious, he wasted no time to claim his bounty and run.

“It happened so quickly, it was quite incredible,” said Andre Morozov, 47, a hobby photographer from Mississauga who had placed the peanuts on the stump and managed to capture the 10-second fight on camera last month.

Strange behaviour for red squirrels?

Not according to Dr. Stan Boutin, a squirrel expert and biological sciences professor at the University of Alberta, who has been studying the species for more than 25 years.

Where grey squirrels are typically docile creatures, Boutin said red squirrels, a type of tree squirrel found mostly in areas with a high number of coniferous trees, are highly energetic and extremely territorial, resorting to aggression when they feel threatened.

Shown the string of photos from the Burlington park skirmish, Boutin speculated that the tree stump could have straddled each squirrel’s territory and both could have felt prepared to take a chance on claiming the treats.

“I’m not surprised ... they are aggressive little guys,” he said.

Nathalie Karvonen, executive director of Toronto Wildlife Centre,” described the squirrels as both “hilarious” and “tough” and said the aggressive behaviour is typical for the species.

She added, however, that people should not feed wild animals.
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