TORONTO BOTANICAL GARDEN AT EDWARDS GARDENS
17 "themed" gardens and botanical garden learning centre
Toronto Botanical Garden, located in Edwards Gardens, is a spectacular landmark centrally located in the city. It's won several awards for design, including its LEED certified Centre for Horticulture building.
Because it is a botanical garden, it is also a learning centre for all things gardening, including the scientific study of plants. Throughout the year over 100 courses are offered to adults in botanically related disciplines such as gardening, urban vegetable gardening, container gardening, urban beekeeping, botanical art, floral design, nature, photography and wellness. In addition, there's a robust children's program, complete with a special Teaching Garden. The site is also home to the TBG's Weston Family Library, the largest private horticultural library in Canada.
In 1817, a Scottish immigrant settled his family and built his business on the site that we now know as Edwards Gardens. The land stayed in his family over a hundred years until a Toronto businessman, Rupert Edwards, bought the property to fulfill his dream of “a place in the country”.
Edwards transformed the property into a glorious garden, boasting one of the largest rockeries in Canada, a private 9-hole golf course and a safe haven for the abundant wildlife. Wanting to preserve the estate as a public park, Edwards sold the property to the City in the 1950s. At first known as Edwards Gardens, the Garden Club of Toronto had a dream of transforming the centre into the Toronto Botanical Garden.
In 2006, the Toronto Botanical Garden (TBG) opened with a series of contemporary themed gardens and a mission to provide horticultural information to Torontonians.
You can't do the gardens in one visit. It's best to select a few gardens at a time, and visit at different times of the year.
There are 17 stunning, award-winning "themed" gardens that stretch over four acres, including: The Kitchen Garden, Summer Container Design, the Westview Terrace, the Teaching Garden, the Herb Garden, the Terraced Garden, the Pollinator Garden and Nature’s Garden. The Knot Garden, for example, features the formal art of pruning and shaping plants.
Also check out the main building. It was built and renovated in three stages from 1967-2006, and contains strong stylistic elements from each period - from "west-coast modern" to contemporary LEED construction - some infused with natural light, views to the garden, stone walls and adjoining outdoor courtyards.
There are bee hives at the TBG, cared for by TBG staff, students of Urban Beekeeping classes and a provincial bee inspector. The bees visit the Pollinator Garden that surround the hives as well as the TBG gardens, Edwards Gardens and the nearby ravine system. Honey and wax from the bees is sold at the weekly market and in the TBG shop. In addition, the TBG runs various workshops about the health benefits of honey.
Unlike many other large botanical gardens in North America, the TBG does not receive funding from the provincial or federal governments. It produces over 95% of its operating budget from self-generated income through membership fees, fundraising events, course revenues, and from the generosity of individual and corporate donors.
The TBG offers a complete range of indoor and outdoor learning experiences for all ages including courses, lectures, workshops, special events, garden tours and an extensive horticultural library. There’s a spring plant sale, a "blossom party", a glamorous spring garden party, Earth Day celebration and summer music series.
Year-round every Thursday, there's an Organic Farmer's Market. The gift shop is also worth a visit, featuring many unique gifts for those who love gardens, flowers, and all things related to outdoor beauty.