Part of the Block Bros. vision for the 108 was the development of 5-acre Biblical Garden with its own lake, with sculptured statutes, plus a 650 seat outdoor amphitheater right next to the 108 Chapel. And it did happen, with grand opening on July 16, 1977.
What became of this Biblical garden that was to be our 108 community centerpiece?
Well one thing is for sure it is not there anymore, yet it was a remarkable attraction to our community for many years. The original 108 Chapel was built in 1975 followed by the Garden in 1977. It was filled with 24 life size original sculptures depicting 14 different scenes from the life of Jesus. The various statutes were made from fibreglass and created by the renowned Italian sculptor, Trinka. The Garden feature was a 12-foot statute of Jesus in the middle of a million gallon man-made lake and waterfall. There was professionally designed night lighting and the amphitheatre was often filled for concerts or Christian performers and speakers flown in by Block Bros. from around North America. In addition, the development included an orientation building with projection studio, and a souvenir and book shop. It was estimated that up to 3000 people per year visited the 108 Garden.
However, the Garden cost over $30,000 per year to maintain, and without Block Bros.’ support it was just too costly for the local Church to sustain. So, in 1984, the Church gave away the Garden assets, including the statutes, to former BC Premier Bill Vander Zalm’s Fantasy Gardens in Richmond. Fantasy Gardens was sold around 1991 and in 2011 many of the 108 statutes found their way to the Coachella Valley in California.
If you have a hankering for a great date milkshake, go to Shields Date Garden in Indio and take their featured stroll out back among the gardens and date trees and see some amazing life size sculptures depicting the life of Jesus and know that it started right here at the 108. If you want to see these statutes right now, take an armchair tour on the Shields Date Garden website and check out the current home of the 108 biblical garden statutes.