Canada in Bloom: The Top Public Gardens Coast to Coast

May 10, 2016

With the last of the snowfall behind us (hopefully) Canada’s gardens are starting to see signs of life. Residents in Victoria and Vancouver have been enjoying cherry blossoms for weeks but the rest of us have waited through a long winter for the first blooms of spring.

Now that the blossoms are here, there’s no better place to enjoy them than in Canada’s stunning public gardens. With so many to choose from it was hard for us to narrow down our favourites but we’ve tried our best. From coast to coast, all are stunning in their own right.

 

British Columbia

VanDusen Botanical Garden, Vancouver

Strolling past the Rhododendrons, VanDusen Botanical Garden. Flickr photo by Marcin Chady

The garden has 22 hectares of elegant landscapes with plants from ecosystems as far-ranging as the Himalayas and the Mediterranean. In the spring, this garden is filled with rhododendrons, magnolias and camellias. Don’t miss the striking Himalayan Blue Poppies that bloom in May.

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Butchart Gardens, Victoria

The Himalayan blue poppies in the Japanese Gardens. Photo courtesy of butchardgardens.com

This stunning garden features thousands of spring bulbs and flowering trees. Every spring, more than 50 species of plants begin to bloom. Walk below the yellow buds of the laburnum trees and take time to see the numerous striking colours of the azaleas, wisteria, trilliums and Blue Poppies.

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Other Notable B.C. Gardens

Milner Gardens and Woodland, Qualicum Beach Stanley Park, Vancouver Nitobe Memorial Garden, Vancouver

 

Alberta

Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden, Lethbridge

The crabapples in bloom at Nikka Yuko. Photo courtesy of nikkayuko.com

Nikka Yuko traces its roots to Japanese-Canadians that were forcibly transported from British Columbia to this area during World War II. Created as part of Canada’s 1967 centennial, it remains one of the most meticulously maintained Japanese gardens in the country. Look for flowering lilacs crab apples and dogwoods.

Other Notable Alberta Gardens

Muttart Conservatory, Edmonton

 

Saskatchewan

Patterson Garden Arboretum, Saskatoon

Trees in bloom at the Patterson Garden Arboretum. Photo courtesy of The University of Saskatchewan

The Patterson Garden Arboretum, located near the University of Saskatchewan campus is open to the public free of charge year-round. Species from northern regions around the world are on display, including lilacs, crabapples and flowering vines.

Other Notable Saskatchewan Gardens

Regina Floral Conservatory

 

Manitoba

Assiniboine Park, Winnipeg

The tulips below the Leo Mol statue, Assiniboine Park. Photo courtesy of assiniboinepark.ca

Assiniboine Park’s 450 hectares include numerous flowering gardens, a conservatory and a forest. See thousands of tulips blooming in the Leo Mol Sculpture Garden or stroll beneath the cherry blossoms in the English Gardens.

Ontario

Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens, Niagara Falls

Tulips line the entrance of the Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens. Photo courtesy of niagaraparks.com

This 40-hectare garden fills with rhododendrons, azaleas, tulips and Japanese cherries. This region, near the Niagara River, is also known as the daffodil capital of North America. Niagara Parks plant over 30,000 daffodils every year -- more than in any other park in the continent.

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Royal Botanical Gardens, Burlington

Spring at the Royal Botanical Gardens. Flickr photo courtesy of RichardBH

One of the premiere gardens in the country, the grounds are home to more than 1,100 species of plants. The gardens also feature rock gardens, an arboretum, perennial gardens and various nature trails, each with differing landscape designs. Every spring, the garden comes to life with flowering lilacs, cherry trees, maluses, magnolias and irises.

Other Notable Ontario Gardens

High Park, Toronto Edwards Gardens, Toronto

 

Quebec

Montreal Botanical Gardens, Montreal

The Chinese gardens at the Montreal Botanical Gardens. Flickr photo by Jason Rala

This is one of the biggest botanical gardens in the world, with more than 22,000 species and cultivars, 10 exhibition greenhouses and more than 30 thematic gardens. Spring brings a kaleidoscope of colours to the gardens. See the delicate alpine plants, cherry and crabapple blossoms, hyacinths, irises, tulips and peonies as they bloom back to life.

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Reford Gardens, Grant-Métis

Reford Gardens in bloom. Flickr photo by Tristan Smith

This garden was created between 1926 and 1958 by a local avid gardener named Elsie Reford. It is home to more than 3,000 varieties of native and exotic plants. The grounds are open at the end of May until the end of September.

Other Notable Quebec Gardens

Les Jardins de Quatre-Vents, La Malbaie Mount Royal Park, Montreal

 

Newfoundland and Labrador

Memorial University of Newfoundland Botanical Garden

The famous rhododendrons at the Memorial University of Newfoundland Botanical Garden. Photo courtesy of destinationstjohns.com

Founded in 1971, this botanical garden includes almost 45 hectares of property comprised of rock gardens, peat gardens, a heritage garden, a Koi pond, an alpine house and numerous nature trails. While there are numerous species of plants, the garden is most famous for its more than 200 varieties of rhododendrons.

New Brunswick

Kingsbrae Garden, St. Andrews

The Dutch windmill at Kingsbrae Gardens. Photo courtesy of kingsbraegarden.com

Kingsbrae is home to more than 50,000 different types of perennials. There are numerous gardens, including one designed for the visually impaired, with plants featuring interesting smells or textures. In the spring, you can walk through the collections of anemones, daffodils and azaleas or sit beneath the flowering crab apples and magnolias that dot the grounds. This garden also has a small children’s farm and a genuine Dutch windmill (1/3 to scale).

Other Notable New Brunswick Gardens

New Brunswick Botanical Garden, Edmundston

 

Nova Scotia

Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens, Annapolis Royal

Flower beds at the Annapolis Royal Garden. Photo courtesy of novascotia.com

Voted the 2015 Canadian Garden of the Year by the Canadian Garden Council, the gardens are located in the historic area known as the first permanent European settlement in North America, and they help to tell the history of the local area. There are various themed sections, including a Victorian garden and a 17th century orchard. The magnolias fill the park with a sweet aroma in early May, while the azaleas transform the green walking trails with bursts of their bright pinks, reds and purples.

Other Notable Nova Scotia Gardens

Halifax Public Gardens, Halifax

 

Yukon

Yukon Gardens, Whitehorse

The surprising colours of the show gardens at Yukon Gardens. Photo courtesy of yukongardens.com

Yukon Gardens is home to Canada’s only northern show garden, featuring native and domestic trees, shrubs and a large display of perennials, including thousands of hardy Yukon plants.

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