A breath of fresh air from busy Toronto, Toronto Botanical Gardens (TBG) and Edwards Gardens resides at the southwest corner of Leslie and Lawrence Avenue West. I like coming here with my kids and spending a few hours strolling through the gardens. It’s very picturesque and my kids love wandering around. There’s no admission charge and parking is free.
There’s a paved (and stroller-friendly) trail leading through the gardens, a separate Children’s Teaching Garden, two greenhouses and an herb garden next to the main building, a cafe, gift shop and library where they hold a free drop-in story time and activities for children up to around age 6 every Monday from 11- 11:30am year-round (subject to change so do call ahead).
Starting on June 25th there will be a free Summer Reading Club held every Monday afternoon from 2- 3pm. Kids 5- 11 years of age can join (younger children are welcome if they can sit through a reading). As part of the program, children will get seeds to plant in the TBG garden. Sign up in-person or by phone at 416-397-1341.
There’s also a Sprout Club where children from 1 to 3 years sing songs and make nature crafts. There is a cost for this class and you will need to preregister (next session is in the fall).
And if you can make it on Thursdays from 3- 7pm come check out the organic farmer’s market (vegetables, fruits, meats and honey) until October 4th. You can even meet a celebrity chef on July 12, 26, August 9 and 23. (I wonder if this means free samples.. )
Back to my walk.. Here are a couple photos from the trail (more in the slideshow below):
My first time visiting the Children’s Teaching Garden was about a week ago when I went with my parent’s group. Good thing one of the moms knew where the Children’s Garden was because there were no signs and it wasn’t obvious at all! Follow my directions below if you’re planning on going.
To get to the Garden, take the paved path at the northwest corner of the parking lot, leading down a gently-sloped hill. There is one (and only one) sign you will see for the Teaching Garden pointing you on this path. Follow the path around a bend and you will find yourself walking south. Cross the first bridge to get to the west side of the stream. Keep walking south on the path until you see a a Rhododendron Garden on your right hand side. You’ll see a plaque with the words “These Rhododendron – Azalea beds were developed by the Rhododendron Society of Canada..” After you pass this garden you will see a bridge on your left and a paved trail on your right leading up a very steep hill. Follow the hill up. (It’s stroller friendly but be prepared to work your leg muscles!) Once you reach the top, turn right and you’re there!
(TBG’s website says it takes 5 minutes to get to the Garden. It probably took us 30 with slow, wandering children!)
Here are photos of the Rhododendron Garden and trail leading to the Teaching Garden:
There’s a sign in front of the Teaching Garden that says “all produce is planted, cared for and harvested by children (from school groups and camps) and donated to a local food bank.” What a wonderful teaching tool! If your child is 3- 11 years old and you’re interested in the summer camp, click here for details.
Here are photos of the Teaching Garden (more in the slideshow below):
In the Teaching Garden we saw spinach, lettuce, onions, beets, herbs, and lots more. Look for the Alphabet Garden, Sensory Garden with plants smelling like lemons and pineapples, Dinosaur Garden featuring plants that dinosaurs once ate, and the Spiral Butterfly Garden where there are plants especially attractive to butterflies.
Check out the hoola hoops from the dollar store and netting that has been used to keep the animals away. I was really excited when I saw this because I’ve been having an issue with animals in my backyard eating up the green beans and other vegetables I planted! They’ve also planted onions around other vegetables to confuse animals from finding their favourite munchies. And here’s another tip- crush egg shells and put them around plants to keep snails and slugs away.
On our way back to the main building we passed geese with their goslings. Sooo cute! (They seemed used to having people around but I’d be careful not to get too close or you might find yourself having to make a run for it!) Of course I took photos:
And finally here are photos of one of the greenhouses (unfortunately both were closed when we went) and the herb garden that’s next to the main building:
Is Toronto Botanical Gardens/ Edwards Gardens one of your favourite spots?