a park, a garden and now the arts...
The Brian and Sarah McLoughlin Park is a new eleven-acre regional park in the Comox Valley, British Columbia.
The McLoughlin Gardens Society has formed with the vision of preserving the seaside gardens that surround the beach house while also hosting an artist-in-residence program to run through the summer months, from May to September. For the time being, the program is by invitation.
Over the coming years, the McLoughlin Gardens Society has plans to launch a membership drive, develop walking trails, install informational panels, and raise funds to convert the shed into an artist and writing studio, while also maintaining the house and gardens.
The property was originally developed as a summer residence and hobby farm by Vancouver lawyer Brian McLoughlin and his wife Sarah McLoughlin, a landscape artist and dedicated gardener. Beginning in the 1960s, the family spent many summers at the nearby Alders Beach Resort. In 1975, the McLoughlins purchased an 18-acre waterfront parcel at the end of Tasman Road, off Williams Beach Road. The house, designed by Sarah, was built in 1976. Once they had settled in, Sarah began to create the gardens, working steadily from April to October, building stacked stone walls, and designing a drought-tolerant, deer-resistant, seashore landscape.
In 2016, the McLoughlins completed an ecological gift, originally set up in 2000, and transferred the property to the Comox Valley Regional District as a pedestrian-only regional park. (A seven-acre parcel had been sold to the McLoughlin's neighbour to the north.) The Comox Valley Land Trust holds the covenant and monitors the property on a yearly basis.
What We've Achieved
Garden Gala and open house, with readings by local writers, May 6, 2018, attended by over a hundred visitors.
Our first writer-in-residence, Nova Scotia writer, Anne Simpson, May - June, 2016, worked with individual writers, as well as offering classes and workshops. She worked on a series of poems and an essay during her residency.
In the summer of 2018, Arleen Paré, our second writer-in-residence, consulted with local writers and offered a daylong workshop - “The Habit of Art.”
Poetry reading and open house held on site in May, 2016. The Comox Valley Writers Society provided refreshments.
First artists-in-residence, Barbara Meneley and Joanne Bristol, conducted site-specific creative research and developed new artworks for exhibition at the Comox Valley Art Gallery while they were in residence for the month of July, 2016.
Nova Scotia artist Rita McKeough arrived June 1st, 2017 to be our second artist-in-residence. She developed and completed all the work for her exhibit "Listen" and "Cul de Sac" which expanded her work "Veins," for an exhibition at the Comox Valley Art Gallery.