Bamboo Garden, Terrence Donnelly Centre

You can escape the city at this bamboo forest hidden in the heart of downtown Toronto

Editor's Note: 

The bamboo garden at Terrence Donnelly Centre is currently closed to the public due to lockdown restrictions in Toronto. 


The bamboo garden hidden on University of Toronto’s St. George campus is the perfect spot for those in search of a bit of zen. 

UofT bamboo garden

The atrium filled with bamboo trees is one of the most vitalizing in the city. 

Tucked inside the building of the Terrence Donnelly Centre, a leading institute in genome research, the multi-level atrium is completely opposite the concrete jungle we’re usually surrounded by.  

UofT bamboo garden

The old interior architecture of the building is perfectly offset by the modern extension and indoor garden. 

A flight of stairs ascends to the lush forest of tropical shrubs and giant bamboo trees that have formed an impressively dense canopy, reaching some four metres (13-feet) high toward the glass ceiling above. 

UofT bamboo garden

You’ll spot the vibrant green of the bamboos as soon as you enter the Terrence Donnelly Centre. 

The space was designed by a team from Toronto’s architectsAlliance and Germany's Behnisch Architekten who made sure to use a combination of natural and artificial light to create the serene ambience. 

UofT bamboo garden

The towering trees and tropical plants enclose the wooden deck spaces, providing lots of peaceful corners.

The open-lit ceiling and windows let in lots of sunlight so that it always feels like spring even on the city’s coldest days. 

UofT bamboo garden

Tall staircases lead up to an additional student workspace above that overlooks the bamboos. 

Stroll through the Japanese-inspired garden or take a seat at one of the wooden decks and benches which are set up at various corners of the atrium and enclosed in vibrant greenery. 

UofT bamboo garden

The various benches throughout the garden make for the perfect spot for a break.

Students and faculty, as well as the rest of the public, can enjoy the breathtaking space. The Donnelly Centre at 160 College Street is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day. 

UofT bamboo garden

The beautiful bamboo garden is open to both campus-goers and the public. 

Keep in mind, the Donnelly Centre will be closed until Jan 3 for the holidays. Make sure to respect the space during your visit and adhere to social distancing measures by only visiting with members of your household.

Photos by

Hector Vasquez

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