The Most Stunning Botanical Garden in Every Province
After the long winter, treat yourself with a stroll through one of Canada's most impressive botanical gardens.
Canada’s Most Impressive Botanical Gardens
When spring is in the air, there’s no better way to refresh your senses than by surrounding yourself in a cornucopia of stunning flowers, shrubs and trees. These beautiful botanical gardens—one from each Canadian province—are the perfect place to immerse yourself in nature, and wonder at the miracle of the season’s new growth.
Note: While most botanical gardens remain open for walking visits during the COVID-19 pandemic, always check their websites in advance.
The Butchart Gardens, British Columbia
It’s easy see why The Butchart Gardens attracts a million visitors every year. For more than a century, Canadians have flocked to view its outstanding floral displays, one of the premier attractions on Vancouver Island. Though open year-round, this National Historic Site really comes alive each spring when hundreds of thousands of bulbs begin to blossom on its bedding plants and flowering trees. With over 55 acres to explore, and a dining room that features a decadent afternoon tea, it’s easy to while away an entire day at Canada’s most famous botanical garden.
Nikka Yuko, Alberta
You might not expect to find a traditional Japanese garden smack dab in the middle of the Prairies, but many Canadians of Japanese ancestry live in southern Alberta. In recognition of their contributions, Nikka Yuko was built in Lethbridge during Canada’s centennial. Translated, Nikka Yuko means “Japan-Canada friendship,” and this botanical garden expresses the merging of both cultures in a serene setting rich in symbolism. Upon entry, guests are greeted by hosts wearing traditional Japanese clothing, before being given the highlights of the garden’s many features, including a teahouse handcrafted in Kyoto, meticulously pruned trees and an abundance of water features.
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Edwardian Gardens at Government House, Saskatchewan
An oasis on the Prairies, thousands of pretty perennials, vibrant annuals and majestic trees dot the grounds of Saskatchewan’s Government House. Set on 7.5 acres, the Edwardian-style garden features an eye-popping array of tulips, fragrant lilies and a delightful rose display. Should the weather not cooperate, retreat into the Sylvia Fedoruk Conservatory for a botanical boost. Engage the kids with complimentary scavenger hunts catered by age group, so they can learn a thing or two about gardening as they burn off energy.
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Assiniboine Park, Manitoba
Designed by Frederick G. Todd, Canada’s first registered landscape architect, Assiniboine Park—located just minutes from downtown Winnipeg—has a lot going for it, notably its gardens. You’ll feel worlds away from city stressors when wandering the winding paths of the park’s English Garden. Unlike most English gardens, which follow a regimented symmetry, the flowing layout of this one allows for a more casual connection to nature. Botanical beauty can also be found in the Leo Mol Sculpture Gardens, where the bronzed works of this Ukrainian-Canadian master sculptor are set amid flowering trees and water features.
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Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens, Ontario
Niagara Falls isn’t the only impressive bit of nature you’ll find in this lush pocket of southern Ontario. A 10-minute drive north of the Falls brings you to Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens, 99 acres of meticulously maintained gardens and an impressive outdoor classroom for students at the Niagara Parks School of Horticulture. Themed displays of bedding are changed seasonally, but the big draw is the English estate-styled rose garden, featuring more than 2,400 roses. Visit in May or early June to experience the Centennial Lilac Garden, brimming with 200 fragrant varieties.
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Montréal Botanical Garden, Quebec
From a tropical rainforest to an alpine meadow to a First Nations garden, all corners of the globe are represented in this living museum of 22,000 plant species. Recognized as one of the world’s most bountiful botanical gardens, Montréal Botanical Garden prides itself on 10 exhibition greenhouses and 20 thematic gardens spread out over 75 hectares, just minutes from downtown Montréal. Stressed? Head to the Courtyard of Senses for a soothing stroll. Hankering to spot a specific species? Be sure to check the calendar of blooms for the latest seasonal sensation.
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Kingsbrae Garden, New Brunswick
The seaside town of St. Andrews boasts an intoxicating, colourful escape set upon 27 acres. Technically, Kingsbrae Garden is a horticultural garden and not a botanical one, as it focuses upon the art of plant management through themed displays. But as it is home to more than 50,000 perennials, an Acadian forest and a growing collection of award-winning sculptures, botanical garden fans will still get what they’re looking for here. An authentic Dutch windmill, petting zoo and several elaborate playhouses make it an ideal destination for families, too.
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Halifax Public Gardens, Nova Scotia
It’s a wonder more period dramas aren’t filmed at Halifax Public Gardens. This charming garden set in central Halifax continues to enchant visitors and remains largely unchanged since opening in 1867. Once a piece of swampland, the amalgamation of two adjoining gardens have blossomed into a vibrant urban oasis that’s now a designated National Historic Site. An impressive wrought-iron fence surrounds all 17-acres of the landscaped garden, enclosing fountains, statues and flora consistent with the Victorian era. Look out for the two carpet beds, a Victorian garden tradition of using clipped dwarf plants to spell out words or illustrate pictures for special occasions.
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Macphail Woods, P.E.I.
Visitors to the eastern wedge of P.E.I will find the island’s most comprehensive botanical garden. With a focus on native plant propagation and ecosystem restoration, the arboretum and botanical gardens at Macphail Woods are a trove of native trees, shrubs, ferns and wildflowers, plus they serve as feeding grounds for monarch butterflies each summer. Look for the lady’s slipper, P.E.I.’s provincial flower, in June and July, and be sure to hit the Streamside Trail, where the Orwell River snakes its way underneath canopies of centuries-old hemlock, birch and maple trees.
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Memorial University Botanical Garden, Newfoundland
Nestled within a boreal forest, Memorial University Botanical Garden sports seven cultivated gardens, containing both native and exotic plants, attracting 120 species of birds and 26 species of butterflies. Comb through the garden’s 110 acres to discover an extensive rock garden, plus a heritage garden peppered with heirloom plants that have been growing in the province before the Second World War. Perking up students and visitors alike are stunning Himalayan blue poppies and more than 200 rhododendrons that bloom toward the end of June.
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