Photo by Philippe Renault / age fotostock
Montréal Botanical Garden
At 185 acres, the Montréal Botanical Garden is less than a third the size of Mount Royal Park, but it manages to fit a remarkable collection of some 22,000 plant species and cultivars into that space, organized into 20 thematic gardens and including 10 exhibition greenhouses (ideal if you are looking for some tropical warmth in the depth of a Montréal winter). Everyone will have his or her own favorites when it comes to the different spaces—Alpine, Chinese, Japanese—but the First Nations garden stands out. Wandering alongside its pond and following its forested trails, you'll feel like you are far from the city and instead in the northern reaches of the province of Québec—at least until you catch sight of the swoop of the nearby Olympic Tower, with its distinct incline. You can continue the naturalist itinerary at the Biodome, also nearby, where five different ecosystems of North America are re-created with flora and fauna—auks, lynx, penguins, and more.
By John Newton, AFAR Contributor
Sunset in Canada
Montreal Botanical Garden is a great place to relax, read, meet friends ...
Living Sculptures Enchant and Entertain in the "Land of Hope"
Over 200 talented artisans specializing in creating living sculptures made from plants and plant material are competing in the Mosaicultures International Competition 2013 which takes place in a different city every three years. This year's theme is "Land of Hope". The exhibits are spread out on a 2.2 kilometer circuit through the 165-acre Botanical Garden (a beauty in its own right). On view now until September 29th, there are 48 creations ranging from a whimsical chameleon (Yemen) and humorous Orangutans swinging from a tree (Malaysia) to monumental tableaus like "Mother Earth" complete with a waterfall, larger than life horses at full gallop, and the serene face of Mother Earth herself (Canada: Montreal). My husband thought I was taking him to see a "bunch of topiary". How wrong he was. He was so impressed by the breathtaking beauty, creativity, and message of the exhibit that we took visiting friends to see it just two days after our visit. Check the website for information regarding different cultural days planned by different countries throughout the competition. There is also a daily talk at 1 p.m (in French) and 2:30 p.m. (in English) explaining how mosaiculture is done. There is plenty of shade along the way and benches to rest. But for good light for photography get there early or late in the day. Because you'll want to take pictures. Otherwise, no one will believe you as to just how spectacular it was.
By Annette Baesel, AFAR Local Expert
Montreal Botanical Garden
Right at the foot of the Olympic Stadium, in the east end of the city, the Botanical Gardens is part of the Espace pour la vie network, which includes the Biodôme, the Insectarium and the Planetarium – all amazing spaces for family outings. Surrounded by the vast Parc Maisonneuve (which itself is crisscrossed with walking and biking trails), the Botanical Gardens offers sprawling outdoor gardens organized according to themes like Japanese Garden, Perennial Garden, Shrub Garden and First Nations Garden. Of particular interest educationally are the Toxic Plant Garden and the Tropical Fruit Garden – kids love both. In addition to special events organized year-round, like the stunning Chinese lantern festival that takes over the Chinese Garden every fall, there are miles and miles of greenhouses enabling winter fun for those who shy away from the cold. http://espacepourlavie.ca/en/jardin-botanique Photo: Susan Moss
By Isa Tousignant, AFAR Local Expert
THE #1 GARDEN TO VISIT IN CANADA
Step around the corner and be greeted by a giant sculpture of a horse - made literally from the earth - galloping across a field. Capture the multi-coloured wings of a butterfly fluttering with the wind or learn about the most dangerous plants in the world. These larger-than-life sculptures and immaculately landscaped gardens are part of a summer event in Montreal. The Montreal Botanical Gardens has been running “Mosaiculture” for 13-years. Over 200 horticultural artists from around the world compete - marrying art and engineering into plants. It really is a magical garden that incorporates poetic beauty and innovative convention, like no other. This is a must-see. Tickets to visit the garden cost around $30 dollars and allow you entry twice.
4601 Rue Sherbrooke Street East, Montréal, QC H1X 2B1, Canada
Sun - Sat 6am - 12am