My Fair Ladysmith

Pamela Anderson renovates her family's Vancouver Island home in new HGTV series Pamela's Garden of Eden

Pamela Anderson renovates her family’s Vancouver Island home in new HGTV series Pamela’s Garden of Eden

From the time she rose to fame as C.J. Parker on Baywatch, Canada’s own Pamela Anderson has lived a relentlessly documented life. But as the Ladysmith native returns home for a very personal new project, fans will finally get to know the real woman behind Pam’s Tinsel Town veneer.   

Though Anderson built herself a new life in Los Angeles, the actress always knew where she would eventually land. “I knew, instinctively, a long time ago, that I needed somewhere to come back, to reset and have some kind of sanctuary—to keep one foot on Vancouver Island,” she says of the family property she took ownership of more than two decades ago. “My father grew up on the property. My grandparents lived here, and my mom and dad lived in one of the cabins on the property when I was born. So, this is the first place I put my feet on the ground.”   

Pamela's Garden of EdenHGTV CanadaWhen Anderson came back to Ladysmith in 2020, her childhood home was in need of both creative vision and a little TLC. While she initially made the dilapidated houses inhabitable, Anderson felt that this particular project could be her true creative masterpiece. To help renovate the existing boathouse, roadhouse and cabin, the actress enlisted her husband at the time, local contractor Dan Hayhurst, along with Love It or List It Vancouver construction consultant and truth-teller Kenny Gemmill and designer Francesca Albertazzi, to take her estate to the next level.  

She may be surrounded by an all-star renovation team, but Anderson herself is not afraid to get her hands dirty. “I’m a tomboy,” she says. “I’m not a fancy person. I’ve experienced some glamorous moments, and I’ve been spoiled at some points in my life. But I prefer to do things myself. I’ve never ever worried about having to provide for myself, look after myself. That’s always been ingrained in me. I’ve always been a really strong kid and that hasn’t changed.” 

Pamela's Garden of EdenHGTV CanadaIn fact, if Anderson has a choice, you will always find her making improvements on the seven-acre property. “This is my art project,” she says. “No matter what I’m doing here, I take a lot of pride in it.” So much so that Anderson is not afraid to start all over if the result of the reno does not match her vision. “I redo things a lot,” she chuckles. “I’m a little bit crazy-making, some of the people would say. Even on the show, I change my mind, and I’ll just dig something up and do it again, or knock something down and do it again. It might not be the best way to do things, for financial reasons.”  

As tends to be the case on any reality show, there is also a little bit of friction in Pamela’s Garden of Eden. “I’ve never had a designer. I’ve built other houses before, where everyone’s learned really quickly to get rid of the designer. It’s just not working out,” says Anderson. “Francesca and I, we butted heads a few times, but she brought something to it, too. I encourage people, and I try to like things, but at the end of the day I probably switched things back, and I don’t think we’ll have a designer moving forward. Just me.”  

 That said, the tumult of having a production crew along with a construction crew in her personal space was worth it, to be able to build her dream. And on this particular show, Anderson’s whimsy might even work to her advantage. “[My son] Brandon is executive producer of this show and he says, ‘Mom, I know you’re going to be spending money on this house, and doing crazy stuff, so let’s just make a show about it, so I never have to worry about you.’ ” 

Pamela's Garden of EdenHGTV CanadaBy expressing her creative vision for the land, and her love for where she grew up, Anderson grabbed the opportunity to expose a different part of herself to the world. “Really, this is me. This is the real me. This is me running around being goofy, cooking, pickling vegetables, pruning my rose garden,” she says. “Everything about me is about being a homemaker, and that’s what people might not recognize — that I’m very family oriented. It’s all about the big picture, about when my kids have kids, to have these gathering spaces where we can all be together, and I can be the hostess.”  

However long it takes to complete the structures, the return to her “Garden of Eden” is all about Anderson finding her centre after an epic journey. “Now that I’m home, I can look at my life from a different perspective and go, ‘I can’t believe I did that,’ ” the star muses. “It feels like I went around the world, like a children’s book, and I came back. I’m in one piece, and I’m right back where I started, the same little girl that ran around barefoot, looking for fairies in the garden with my grandfather.” 

Pamela’s Garden of Eden airs Thursdays on HGTV