public gardens toronto

The top 10 public gardens in Toronto

Toronto is home to a handful of gorgeous public gardens, making it easy to rediscover nature when you're trapped in what's otherwise an urban landscape. Spend a summer day getting serene with some pretty flowers or having your mind blown by some crazy plants. 

Here are my picks for the top public gardens in Toronto.

Edwards Gardens

This former private estate is a haven for flora lovers, blooming with wildflowers, roses and annual plants. Follow one of the many walking trails and soak up the sights of wooden arch bridges, a waterwheel, rock gardens and neighbouring Wilket Creek Park.

Alexander Muir Memorial Gardens

Named after the guy who brought us The Maple Leaf Forever, you'll notice maple leaves are a recurring theme throughout this multi-levelled park near Yonge and Lawrence. It all backs onto a ravine system that's intertwined with walking trails, which lead you through Sherwood and Sunnydene parks.

Toronto Botanical Garden

Actually located within Edwards Gardens, the Toronto Botanical Garden houses 17 themed gardens, all of them award-winning. Book a tour of the space and enjoy a refreshing jaunt through nearly four acres of immaculately pruned greenery and flora.

Allan Gardens

What could be more fun than 16,000 square feet of banana trees, orchids, jasmine, palm trees and other crazy plants? Allan Gardens has serious flower power, housing not only permanent collections but also seasonal installations that show off pretty — and sometimes just plain weird — plants.

Centennial Park Conservatory

This conservatory is comprised of a tropical house, an arid (cactus) house and a display house, all of which are bursting with intriguing species that'll put Dr. Seuss's fluffy trees to shame. Step inside to trick yourself into thinking you're on a lush, warm island.

Toronto Music Garden

Yo Yo Ma crafted this masterpiece of a garden, which is supposed to be an earthy interpretation of Bach's Suite No. 1 in G Major for unaccompanied cello, BWV 1007. Rolling and sprawling just to the west of the Harbourfront Centre, the landscape is beautifully backdropped by the lake.

Toronto Sculpture Garden

If you're tired of flowers, observe some human-made beauty at the Toronto Sculpture Garden. The space hosts regular exhibits to show off installations by various sculptors. One thing remains constant, however, and that's a very photo-worthy fountain at the east wall.

Kew Gardens

This massive park in the Beaches will keep you entertained for hours with a wading pool, playground, trails, a sports pad and a baseball diamond. It's also home to the historic Key Williams House (a.k.a. the Gardener's Cottage), which is a plant and flower lover's dream.

City Hall's green roof

There are few better public places in the heart of downtown Toronto to take a moment's refuge than the green roof at City Hall. Although you're surrounded by the concrete of Nathan Phillips Square and the soaring towers of our civic heart, the elevated garden nevertheless feels like a world away from the hum and buzz of city life below.

St. James Park

Get your picnic on and photobomb some wedding parties at this stunning park, backdropped by the majestic St. James Cathedral. The gothic architecture and garden displays will put you in a Downton Abbey kind of mood.

Lead photo by

Alex Meoko

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