Cullen Gardens and Miniature Village
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Cullen Gardens and Miniature Village Announces Closure
Whitby, Canada. – December 2, 2005
It was announced on Dcember 1, 2005 by Sue Cullen-Green and Bryan Green, co-owners of Cullen Gardens & Miniature Village in Whitby, that the attraction will permanently close on Sunday, January 1st, 2006. The "Grill & Grape" Restaurant at Cullen Gardens and the banquet/meeting room facilities will remain open until January 8th, 2006.Officially opened in May of 1980 by founder Len Cullen and his wife, Connie, the Gardens have been a major tourist attraction in Whitby and the entire Durham Region for 25 years. The 36-acres of show gardens, and the truly unique miniature village featuring more than 160 buildings, cottages and homes has been a major landmark on Taunton Road just west of Hwy12/Brock Street.It will be business as usual for the next six weeks! The famous "Festival of Lights" continues until January 1st, 2006, wrapping up on the Sunday with the annual Alzheimer Society of Durham's "Walk for Memories" charity event. The "Grill & Grape" restaurant, open until January 8th, will still host the annual "New Year's Eve" dinner with two seatings on the 31st of December: a 5pm family seating and an 8pm Dinner & Dance event for adults.The children's "Camp Cullen Holiday Camp" will run from Tuesday, December 27th to Friday the 30th, 2005 and from Monday, January 2nd to Friday the 6th, 2006 inclusive. "Holiday Camp" is led by the summer camp counselors and spaces are still available!The Cullen Gardens Golf Driving Range will re-open for business in the Spring of 2006 at its present location off Cochrane Road.No announcement has been made regarding the future use of the property.Now is the time to see the "Festival of Lights" at Cullen Gardens & Miniature VIllage for the final season! The Grounds are open from 10am to 9pm daily, and everyone is invited to visit for the last time.
Thank you to all who have supported Cullen Gardens & Miniature Village over the past 25 years.
Town of Whitby Purchases Cullen Gardens Property
January 9, 2006: The Council of the Town of Whitby and Mrs. Sue Cullen-Green are pleased to mutually announce that The Corporation of the Town of Whitby has purchased the property and the majority of buildings and assets associated with the operation of Cullen Gardens from Cullen Gardens Inc.
The Town of Whitby’s acquisition of Cullen Gardens includes the following significant components: the table and valley lands located east of Cochrane Street and the road allowance, approximately 85.5 acres in size; the main building which houses the restaurant, banquet facilities and gift shop; the Lynde House Museum which is a designated heritage structure; the log cabin adjacent the main building which hosts the special display area; the special events picnic shelter; and, the trails and bridges in the valley lands. The Town will also be permitted to use the ‘Cullen’ name for identification of the property or components within the property. The transfer of the Cullen Gardens holdings to the Town of Whitby will occur over the next ninety days.
The Town of Whitby’s purchase does not include the properties located west of Cochrane Street and the road allowance, which includes a residential dwelling unit, golf driving range, a number of unoccupied older homes, and two greenhouses; these properties remain in the ownership of Mrs. Cullen-Green; the Town’s purchase also does not include the miniature village models and seasonal displays.
The Town of Whitby’s acquisition of the Cullen Gardens property has been proactively undertaken by the Mayor and Council in order to protect the associated table lands, green space and valley lands from future residential and commercial development. As Whitby remains the ‘Community of Choice’ in Durham Region, demand for new housing growth continues to expand, and there is increasing pressure from the development industry to acquire and redevelop properties for other land uses, especially for residential and commercial purposes.
Cullen Gardens holdings are considerable and with the Town of Whitby acquiring the property this ensures that the land will remain in public ownership and be enjoyed as park and open space. The existing trails in the valley will provide valuable north-south links with the Town’s expanding trail system, and provide a potential connection into the Heber Down Conservation Area which borders Cullen Gardens on the north. The buildings will be used for future recreation and community centre programming opportunities.
The miniature village and seasonal gardens displays will remain closed. These operations were not sustainable under private ownership and will not be reopened by the Town of Whitby.
Whitby Mayor Marcel Brunelle states, “Cullen Gardens has brought regional and national awareness to Whitby and it is a place that many have shared special occasions and events. While the Cullen Gardens operation is a loss to the community, I am very pleased that the extensive property holdings will transfer into public ownership and the facilities will be reprogrammed to be enjoyed by our residents today and into the future.”
Sue Cullen-Green, the owner of Cullen Gardens, stated the following about the sale of the property to the Town of Whitby, “It was an extremely difficult decision to close the operations of Cullen Gardens & Miniature Village after twenty-five years, but I am especially delighted that the Mayor and Council of the Town of Whitby have shown the interest to acquire the property and preserve the area for future public access and use, as well as to use the Cullen name in some manner so that there is a lasting legacy as to what my father and the Cullen family have created here.”
The more immediate priorities for the Town of Whitby will be the development of programs for the use of the facilities for children’s camp programs, and evaluating the restaurant and banquet operations to take advantage of corporate functions, weddings and special events throughout the year. The major buildings will be assessed and developed for other community programming purposes on a go forward basis.
Source: Town of Whitby