The most beautiful gardens to visit
Relax in stunning, world-famous flower gardens, discover produce gardens with heirloom seeds, learn about medicinal plants and the importance of pollinators, or watch gardens come to life as costumed interpreters tend to their crops with historic tools and methods. Who knows, you might even get some ideas for your own garden!
Ornamental and historic gardens
Did you know that a walk in a garden is good for your physical and mental wellness? Do yourself a favour as you stroll along beautifully landscaped paths to find the perfect spot for a picnic, relax along the sweet floral scents as you admire a rich tapestry of colours, or simply get inspired for your home garden!Dive into history: explore gardens that have been carefully landscaped to replicate what they would have been like at that time. Discover Canada’s heritage in the most beautiful way!
Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site
Location: Nova Scotia
Visit the ornamental gardens of Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site and let yourself be charmed by the vibrant colours of the many flowers, shrubs, and trees that surround the site. Explore these stunning gardens established in 1956, which tell the story of Mabel Hubbard Bell: an avid horticulturist, an advocate for women and children's education, and the first woman to manage an aviation company.
Walk along the museum grounds and admire the gardens from many locations: the red chairs, benches, picnic tables and even a rooftop patio where you can enjoy a meal as the sparkling waters of Baddeck Bay move beneath.
Coming with kids? Make sure to grab an Xplorers booklet and see how many wooden sheep you can find hidden in the gardens!
The site celebrates Mabel’s contributions through a new interpretive garden with the guidance of pollination expert Dr. Alana Pinder. Take home a piece of history by purchasing seeds from the museum gift shop to plant in your own garden, much like Mabel’s neighbours who had plants of their own grown from cuttings or seeds she had given them.
Grand-Pré National Historic Site
Location: Nova Scotia
Explore Grand-Pré’s stunning Victorian garden as you stop for a picnic or enjoy one of the many resting areas. Admire lush carpet beds of colourful flowers, full shrubs lining delicate paths, rose gardens with honeysuckle and wisteria vines, beautiful ponds encompassed by weeping willows, statues and monuments.
The dream of creating an Acadian memorial park dates back to 1907, but it was not until the 1920’s that it became a reality. Enjoy the beautiful scenery of this UNESCO World Heritage Site with the perfect picnic.
Manoir Papineau National Historic Site
Explore the colourful, historic gardens designed by radical leader of French Canadians, Louis-Joseph Papineau. Known for his passion for politics, Papineau also shared a love for botany. He designed the landscaping with inspiration from the English gardens he visited.
Admire the blooming landscapes as you walk these beautiful garden paths and who knows? You might even bump into the Gardener Papineau this summer!
Top off your visit with a picnic in front of the house and admire the oak tree who has seen nearly 300 years of history. Sit at the picnic tables or on the garden lawn and relax as you admire the breathtaking views of the Ottawa River.
Bethune Memorial House National Historic Site
Visit the ornamental gardens at Bethune Memorial House and explore the grounds of this Victorian era home built in 1880. Admire the garden from Parks Canada red chairs and marvel at the lush flower beds, containing flowers popular in Gravenhurst in the 1890s such as geranium, peony, lilac, lavender and fern. Among these flowers you will find bloodroot and lungwort, deliberately planted to honour Norman Bethune and his work against tuberculosis, of which these plants were vital.
Sault Ste. Marie Canal National Historic Site
Discover a colourful mosaic of cosmos, marigolds, delphiniums and more at Sault Ste. Marie Canal’s English garden! The plants here were carefully selected to accurately reflect what was grown in the early 20th century. Dating back to 1911, Superintendent J.W. LeBreton Ross was able to secure funds through the “Beautify Canada” campaign to plant tree seedlings and flower beds.
Take part in the Gardening Adventure Lab, a geocaching experience taking you on a walk along the canal grounds, leading you past wetlands and even 100-year-old trees with fun history highlights along the way.
Want to get your hands a little dirty? Volunteer to help out with the gardens and get planting, weeding, and watering!
Woodside National Historic Site
Pack a picnic and take an afternoon stroll through 11.5 acres of wooded grounds, colourful gardens, and green grass. Walk around the picturesque lily pond and admire the Tulip tree, planted by John King himself over 110 years ago. It’s easy to let yourself be lulled by the sounds of birds chirping in the trees and imagine it is summer 1891 when William Lyon Mackenzie King called this place home.
Enjoy the site in the fall when it is set ablaze with colour or in the winter when the grounds are peaceful and great for cross country skiing, snowshoeing, or winter walking. Have a snack in the picnic shelter and admire the historic structure that was designed in the same Victorian architectural style as the house!
Riding Mountain National Park
Visit the stunning Heritage Gardens of Riding Mountain National Park and discover a place that serves as a refuge for birds, pollinators… and people!
Visit a stunning English garden from the 1930’s and discover ancient perennials as well as more modern cultivars just steps away from the visitor centre. Continue your adventure by walking the Bord-du-Lac trail to the Wishing Well bridge and explore a pesticide-free garden.
Pack a lunch and treat yourself to a picnic as you enjoy the garden and refuel for the return trip. Don't forget to take some pictures in this enchanting setting.
Banff National Park
Explore the breathtaking Cascades of Time Garden in the heart of Banff. Admire nearly five hectares of land taking you past a geological sequence of “cascading” ponds and water courses, rustic pavilions, bridges, and over 50,000 flowers!
Take the time to relax and enjoy the beauty and tranquility of the area as you walk along the historic stone pathways. Make full use of this enchanting setting and meditate, practice yoga or pack a lunch and find the perfect picnic spot!
Klondike National Historic Sites
Discover the scenic gardens at the Commissioner’s Residence in Dawson, a mansion restored to its 1912-1916 state when George and Martha Black resided there. Martha was an avid gardener and landscaper who even went on to become a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society for her research and lectures on Yukon flora. In addition to being an accomplished horticulturist, Martha was also the second woman to be elected to the Canadian House of Commons (1935-40).
Learn why these gardens are a testament to the great efforts made to recreate southern society in this remote northern community.
Produce and interpretive gardens
Explore unique produce gardens grown from heirloom seeds! Learn how these historic seeds were nurtured with historic techniques and tools as you watch costumed Parks Canada guides carefully tend to their crops.
Take a tour of an herb garden, produce garden or even a historic orchard. Get your hands dirty and help with the gardening work and leave with gardening tips inspired by historic techniques and indigenous traditions.
Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site
Location: Nova Scotia
Visit all five heritage gardens including heirloom seeds dating back to 1744 in Fortress of Louisbourg! Explore garden paths lined by colourful vegetables, fragrant herbs and flowers. Take a break on one of the many benches and let yourself be lulled by the peace and quiet, imagining what it was like in the 1700s. Engage with costumed guides as they tend to their gardens using authentic 18th century tools and work methods. Make sure to ask questions and take home some gardening tips for your own garden!
Explore three potager gardens, also known as kitchen gardens, and notice how they all use the principles of geometric design and mirror-imaging: imitating the famous gardens at the palace of Versailles in France.
Of course, a visit to the gardens is not complete without saying hello to the many heritage animals on site! Come see the chickens, turkeys, geese, sheep, and goats who call the Fortress home. Visiting with kids aged 5 to 8? Join the Rookie Tour and discover how children lived 300 years ago.
Fort Chambly National Historic Site
Visit the Fort Chambly Nourishing Forest and discover a small vegetated area composed of various plants, trees such as maple, fir and yellow birch, and fruit bushes native to the Richelieu region evoking the lush forest that surrounded the fort in the 18th century.
Learn about the uses of the fistula monarda, mint, milkweed and various fruits and nuts and why they were selected for their medicinal or food use by the various native and colonial peoples.
Sir Wilfrid Laurier National Historic Site
Travel back in time and explore an old-style vegetable garden. As a budding horticulturist, your curiosity is sure to be quenched! Let yourself be lulled by the charm of this 19th century residence as you learn about the habits and customs of family life at that time. As you visit, marvel at over 600 pieces of period furniture and learn about the life and work of Sir. Wilfrid Laurier, who was the Prime Minister of Canada for over 15 years.
Bellevue House National Historic Site
Unearth the challenges of gardening in the 1840s as you visit Bellevue House’s ornamental garden, orchard, and vegetable garden. Explore the gardens of one of the first examples of Italian Villa architecture in Canada, and the home to Sir John A. MacDonald from 1848 to 49.
Admire the heirloom plant species, old variety apple trees and the rich colours of the decorative flower beds as you learn about heritage gardening methods, try out tools from the 19th century and learn why lawn care required a scythe from the period costumed gardener.
Fort Malden National Historic Site
Head to the Military Pensionner’s Cottage at Fort Malden and discover a living example of the vegetables, herbs and flowers that would have been planted and tended to by an 1850’s Pensioner’s family. Let your curiosity flourish as you watch Parks Canada guides dressed in historic costumes tend to the gardens. Don’t be shy, ask them what they are growing!
Depending on the timing of your visit to Fort Malden, let yourself be fascinated by the heritage perennial varieties, herb garden, vegetable garden and heritage hops, a collaboration with GL Heritage Brewing Co.
Lower Fort Garry National Historic Site
Head to Lower Fort Garry and explore the different gardens! Stroll past the Monarch garden and spot the chrysalises before the butterflies emerge. Find produce gardens that feature heirloom seeds passed from one generation to another or go for an afternoon stroll along the Victorian flower garden at the Big House.
Riel House National Historic Site
Visit the gardens of Riel House, and learn more about the life of the Métis leader and founder of Manitoba.
Learn how Parks Canada, the Manitoba Master Gardener Association, and the Manitoba Métis Federation are working together to establish, maintain, cultivate and share the vegetables, herbs, and flowers that reflect the lifestyle of Métis families who settled along the Red River.
Batoche National Historic Site
Let the magic of Batoche welcome you as you are greeted by a legacy of beautiful perennials near the visitor center. Examine the beauty of this flower bed that is maintained by employees who return to care for it each year.
Watch these produce gardens in action as guides in historic costumes care for both hybrid and heritage plants with historically accurate tools. Sample the fresh vegetables used in the delicious Métis cuisine featured at the Batoche Café and in the fall, pick your own vegetables at the Rectory or Caron Home gardens and take home a taste of Batoche! Take the opportunity to learn more about the farm to table process in the traditional Métis way of life.
Motherwell Homestead National Historic Site
Get a glimpse into the world of land based living as you explore the gardens and meet the animals at this homestead!
Half-filled with a bounty of heirloom fruits and vegetables, explore two ever-changing gardens where traditional gardening practices and scientific agriculture methods meet. Learn howpeople were connected to the land of the prairies, and how the heirloom varieties included in this garden were bred to thrive Saskatchewan’s harsh winters, and short, dry summers.
Curious about the produce grown here? Join the “terroir taster tour” and sample some of the produce. In the summer, stop at the Off the Beaten Path Café in the visitor center and taste the delicious seasonal produce featured on their mouth-watering menu.
Bar U Ranch National Historic Site
Have you ever wondered how food was stored before modern refrigeration was invented? Visit the produce garden at Bar U Ranch and stop by the storehouses and root cellar to learn the secrets of preserving vegetables back in the day.
In the fall, roll up your sleeves, stir up the dirt and bring home some fresh vegetables!
Fort Langley National Historic Site
Location: British Columbia
Head to Fort Langley and visit a heritage garden filled with potatoes, rye, carrots, apples, peas, and beans; the same crops grown by Hudson’s Bay Company settlers in 1827.
Curious about nature and passionate about history? Talk to the guides dressed in historic costumes as they tend to the garden to learn the secrets of 19th century agriculture and food production. They'll explain why potatoes were one of the most popular crops grown by the settlers!
When you are done admiring the garden, make sure to check out Fort Langley’s very own demonstration farm in the summer months.
Native plant gardens
Do you have a green thumb? Explore a native plant garden and learn how these plants have evolved to thrive in their environment with natural defences against pests, diseases, and weather. Discover how to contribute to the health of our ecosystems by incorporating them into your own garden!
Remember: No matter how beautiful the plants are in these gardens, take nothing but pictures and leave nothing but memories.
Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve
Come and explore the Virginia garden located in the heart of the charming village of Havre-Saint-Pierre. Located on the waterfront and near the visitor and interpretation centre, this garden highlights the diversity and rarity of many plants found here.
Observe beautiful plants such as the Mingan thistle, the Gulf of St. Lawrence dandelion and the sparrow’s egg lady's slipper, even if you don't end up going to the islands. Learn more about Brother Marie-Victorin who stayed in Minganie between 1924 and 1928, and discover the ties that connected him to the locals.
From the garden, admire some of the many islands of the archipelago, just a stone’s throw from the departure points. Take advantage of this harmonious place to relax and breathe in the fresh sea air. Let yourself be tempted by an excursion at sea to discover the wonders of the Mingan Islands.
The Forks National Historic Site
On your visit to The Forks, make sure to check out the 1,860-square-metre plot of native prairie vegetation featuring over 150 native plant species found in the tallgrass prairie. Originally covering an area one and a half times the size of Manitoba, 99% of this prairie has now been lost.
Created back in 1999 as a conservation initiative with the Nature Conservancy of Canada, this plot protects wild grasses and flowers such as the prairie crocus, wild iris, bergamot, and the purple prairie clover.
Come explore what makes the prairies so magical!
Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Sites
Location: British Columbia
Escape the noise of the city and head to one of the rarest ecosystems in Canada. Discover the history of camas lilies as you visit the Garry Oak Learning Meadow and learn why they hold a special significance to the Esquimalt Nation and Songhees Nation.
Book a tour with a naturalist and learn how to grow a native plant garden of your own to protect this disappearing Garry Oak ecosystem.
Enjoy the gardens during April, May and June for an even more colorful experience, when most of the plants are in bloom! What are you waiting for? Get out and enjoy the beauty of nature!
Butterfly and pollinator gardens
Bees, beetles, butterflies, birds, and flies; what do these animals have in common? They are all pollinators! They carry pollen from flower to flower which helps plants produce the next generation.
Visit a pollinator garden and learn about the plants that attract these species. Take advantage of the tips you find and try setting up your own pollinator garden at home!
Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site
Location: Nova Scotia
Head to Kejimkujik in the summertime and visit a beautiful butterfly garden! Make sure to stop by the monarch exhibit and learn about the important role milkweed plays in protecting this beautiful species at risk.
Want to get involved? Purchase the “Butterfly Club” kit at the visitor centre and grow your own chemical-free butterfly garden at home: seeds, useful tips, monarch butterfly facts and more!
By planting milkweed or the native wildflowers from the kit, you will not only contribute to butterfly conservation but you will also have more opportunities to admire these beautiful insects!
Fundy National Park
Location: New Brunswick
Imagine a garden specifically designed to attract and protect over 30 different pollinator species. Fascinating, isn’t it? Well look no further! Explore the beautiful pollinator garden at the bluff across from the visitor centre in Fundy National Park.
As you admire the flowers, be on the lookout for yellow-banded bumble bees, ruby-throated hummingbirds, or even monarch butterflies, a species at risk. Don’t forget your camera!
Coteau-du-Lac National Historic Site
Enjoy a moment of tranquility as you relax in a butterfly garden specially designed to protect the endangered monarch butterfly.
This conservation project at Coteau-du-lac has even received the "Monarch Oasis certification" certification from Espace pour la vie, showcasing this garden’s significant contribution in improving biodiversity in Quebec.
Forges du Saint-Maurice National Historic Site
Discover a magnificent natural field of milkweed specifically left uncultivated to provide a home and food for the monarch butterflies in Forges du Saint-Maurice.
Take a walk in this formal industrial village and bask in the sun as you admire butterflies flying in and around. Enjoy a delicious picnic in this serene space and take the opportunity to explore the interpretive area. Peek through the slots of the observation wall and see if you can spot a few species that live in this natural habitat. Look for the artificial nesting sites created for tree swallows and pollinators, as well as the artificial roosts made for little brown bats.
Gardens with Indigenous traditions
Visit gardens inspired by Indigenous culture. Learn how communities have cared for their gardens for thousands of years and learn traditional agricultural practices. Discover the richness of Indigenous knowledge and traditions.
Georgian Bay Islands National Park
& Beausoleil Island National Historic Site
Discover the medicine wheel garden in Cedar spring in Beausoleil Island. Admire the garden which is placed in one large circle to represent interconnectedness and equality, this garden encompasses many diverse traditional teachings which are sacred to many Indigenous peoples.
In this garden, you will find four quadrants which represent mental, physical, spiritual and emotional health. They also symbolize the four seasons, the four stages of life, the four elements of nature, the four cardinal points and the four sacred medicines; tobacco facing east, white cedar facing south, white sage facing west and sweetgrass facing north.
Lower Fort Garry National Historic Site
Visit a “Three Sisters” garden and see firsthand what First Nations peoples, like the Anishinaabe, have been farming for thousands of years. Learn how corn, beans, and squash work together to create a naturally sufficient environment and take home ideas for your own garden!
Did you know? The tall stalks of corn allow the beans to grow upwards and not be ‘squashed’ by the squash vines! The beans provide nitrogen to fertilize the soil and also stabilize the garden from heavy winds, while the large squash leaves help retain moisture and prevent weeds.
Gulf Islands National Park Reserve
Location: British Columbia
Have you ever heard of a sea garden? Head to Gulf Islands and discover a place where beaches have been managed by the Coast Salish First Nations peoples for thousands of years. Learn about the traditional practices used like removing kelp and sea lettuce which provides room for more creatures to grow.
Did you know? A well-maintained sea garden is not only a great food resource, but a place of learning where elders share their knowledge and work alongside youth. Together, the entire community cares for the sea garden to keep it healthy.
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