When we visit a city for the first time we often focus on the cultural and historical must-see spots. We visit old churches, wander through historic streets and admire ancient ruins. If we have a bit more time to spare we start to look around for more attractions and little less obvious attractions. Before I went to Montréal I didn’t even know there was a botanical garden in the city. I am so happy that my friend suggested this place – Montréal Botanical Garden (Jardin Botanique de Montréal) is beautiful, huge and worth every minute of your precious time.
The Botanical Garden, together with the Insectarium, Biodôme, and the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium, is part of the Montréal Space for Life. 65 hectares await your exploration – wear comfortable shoes and don’t forget about snacks or even a full picnic basket! Just a short ride by metro from the downtown you can enjoy the natural beauty and fresh air. This might not be a typical „must-see” but a must-see it is! Jardin Botanique de Montréal is a real jewel on the city’s map.
Come early in the morning – you will have the gardens almost completely to yourself. Don’t try to just run fast through it – Montréal’s Botanical Garden requires your time to wander through and admire over 22 thousands of plant species. You can click here to see a map of the gardens with all thematic gardens and designated areas.
Japanese Garden in the Montréal Botanical Garden
The area is well organized into twenty thematic gardens and you can find there ten exhibition greenhouses. I was unlucky that during my visit the Chinese Garden was under construction but I had more than plenty of other attractions to admire. I especially loved the Japanese garden, which was created in 1988 under the creative direction of Ken Nakajima.
The garden holds a big koi fish pond and carefully arranged garden. In the Japanese style building, you can visit an exhibit area and bonsai garden.
During my visit, the day started gloomy and overcast but with every passing hour, it got sunnier. I spent in the Montréal Botanical Garden more than five hours! I left tired but happy. My memory card was filled with photos of flowers in every color, carefully arranged plants in the Japanese garden and sunbathing turtles.
Education, Relaxation, and… Food
Before you go, check the Garden’s calendar – throughout the year you can find interesting events, concerts, and special presentations. Among the Garden’s most renowned collections are its rose and orchid gardens, bonsai You might get inspired by their herb, spice and vegetable gardens – all the eatables are harvested and passed on to needy families.
The Garden runs a variety of educational & research programs and courses. Some of them are open to the general public and might be of interest to you.
In the Greenhouses of the Montréal Botanical Garden
The greenhouses are definitely an attraction during cold months but even during the summer, they are worth your time. I loved walking through the carefully arranged pavilions admiring exotic plants and rare flowers. I found the Hacienda room particularly well done.
Nature and Art in the Montréal Botanical Garden
In the Montreal’s Botanical Arboretum you have a truly wonderful chance to see what happens when Nature’s beauty meets human creativity. Patrick Dougherty, an internationally renowned land artist, was invited by the city to create art pieces in the Garden. The artist creates sculptures from willow branches, big enough to walk through them. But that’s not all – throughout the summer of 2017 Patrick Dougherty invites visitors to participate in the creative process. As I was there in the beginning of July, I could see only the beginning of this amazing project.
Insectarium at the Montréal Botanical Garden
For the same single ticket, you are also invited to visit the Insectarium. An impressive collection of species from all over the world – most of them cataloged and presented in big glass cabinets. There are also live specimens, including an impressive ant colony. I have taken a lot of photos there… which I later somehow deleted by accident 🙁 I have only one – and I am sorry I can’t show you more. I guess it means you just have to go and see for yourself – it is truly worth doing! For the more adventerous among you, there is also a chance to try burgers and other dishes with insects. I wasn’t brave enough – let me know if you tried some!
The Montréal Botanical Garden: Practical information
- The Montréal Botanical Garden is located at 4101 Sherbrooke Street East, at the corner of Pie-IX and Sherbrooke Streets, in Maisonneuve Park, located in the borough of Rosemont–La Petite-Patrie, facing Montreal’s Olympic Stadium.
- You can get there by metro – take the blue line to Pie-IX station. From there you go up the street. There are signs to show you directions.
- Ticket price: 20,25 CAD for adults, 18, 50 CAD for seniors and 14,75CAD for students and 10,25 CAD for children. The prices are lower for Québec residents.