VanDusen Botanical Garden’s founding Curator and Director Richard Roy Forster, C.M., passed away at 85 years of age on September 7, 2018 at his home in Vancouver after being diagnosed with lung cancer.
With training both in horticulture and fine arts, Roy brought a unique skillset to the design and curatorial integrity of VanDusen’s remarkable collections. The beauty of VanDusen is appreciated by all, but Roy’s artistry became even more apparent to the botanically knowledgeable visitor.
Roy Forster was appointed Curator and Director of VanDusen in 1972 where he served for 24 years until his retirement. He had also previously spent 14 years at the Horticultural Research Institute of Ontario where his work in breeding rhododendrons resulted in the introduction of hardy, award-winning hybrids.
Roy is the author of two books—The Woodland Garden (with Alex Downie) and For the Love of Trees, a book featuring his own paintings of trees. In 1999 Richard Roy Forster was made a member of the Order of Canada for his exceptional accomplishments at VanDusen, and in 2003 he was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal for his outstanding and exemplary contributions to Canada.