Stepping into warm public greenhouses filled with bright blooms and towering tropical trees on a cold winter’s day can cheer up anyone, especially housebound gardeners. Here’s a list of several indoor gardens, greenhouses and conservatories across Canada open to the public. Call or visit their websites for hours and possible entry fees.
Victoria Butterfly Gardens 1461 Benvenuto Ave., Brentwood Bay, B.C.; 877-722-0272; butterflygardens.com Tropical gardens highlight the life cycle and flight activity of tropical butterflies. There are also tropical ducks, flamingos and koi swimming in the stream and pond.
Bloedel Floral Conservatory off 33rd Avenue between Cambie and Main Sts., Vancouver; 604-257-8584; vancouver.ca/parks/parks/bloedel/index.htm. The triodetic dome capping Queen Elizabeth Park is filled with exotic plants, colourful koi and birds.
Muttart Conservatory 9626 – 96A Street, Edmonton; 780-442-5311; muttartconservatory.ca. Set in Edmonton’s lush river valley, the tropical, temperate, arid and feature pyramids are home to thousands of plant species.
ENMAX Conservatory Calgary Zoo, 1300 Zoo Rd. NE, Calgary; 800-588-9993; calgaryzoo.ab.ca. Enjoy lush botanical displays and insights into the intimate relationship humans have with the plant world. The bromeliad and orchid collections are highlights.
Regina Floral Conservatory 1450 B 4th Avenue, Regina; 306-781-4769; reginafloralconservatory.ca. The indoor tropical garden also features seasonal displays.
Assiniboine Park Conservatory 460 Assiniboine Park Dr., Winnipeg; 204-888-5466; assiniboinepark.ca/mnuattractions#cons. The palm house has a tropical jungle and the floral display gallery offers more than 10 annual displays, including orchid and bonsai shows and a special holiday lights display.
Centennial Botanical Conservatory 1601 Dease St., Thunder Bay, Ont.; 807-622-7036; thunderbay.ca/Living/recreation_and_parks/Parks/Botanical_Conservatory.htm. Constructed in 1967 as a centennial project, the conservatory features exotic flowers, trees and shrubs.
Niagara Parks Floral Showhouse 7145 Niagara Pkwy., Niagara Falls, Ont.; 905-371-0254; niagaraparks.com/garden-trail/floral-showhouse.html. View orchids, succulents and other tropical plant species along with seasonal floral shows and colourful tropical birds.
Niagara Parks Butterfly Conservatory 2405 Niagara Pkwy., Niagara Falls, Ont.; 877-642-7275; niagaraparks.com/garden-trail/butterfly-conservatory.html. This attraction features more than 2,000 colourful tropical butterflies floating freely among lush, exotic blossoms and greenery in a rainforest setting.
Gage Park & Tropical Greenhouse Lawrence Rd., east of Gage Ave. S.., Hamilton, Ont.; 905-546-2424 ext. 7598; hamilton.ca/CityDepartments/PublicWorks/Parks/TropicalHouse. A meandering flagstone path runs beside fish-filled ponds and tropical borders with more than 100 exotic plant species, culminating in a large waterfall.
Royal Botanical Gardens Mediterranean Garden 680 Plains Rd. W., Burlington, Ont.; 800-694-4769; rbg.ca. This garden under glass brings together plants that have adapted to the world’s five Mediterranean climate zones: the Mediterranean Basin, Cape Province South Africa, south and southwest Australia, central Chile and southern California. Special seasonal displays are featured in the bulb room.
Centennial Park Conservatory 151 Elmcrest Rd., Etobicoke, Ont.; 416-394-8543; toronto.ca/parks/prd/facilities/complex/798/index.htm. This breath of summer includes a large tropical house, two display houses, six growing houses, a potting shed and a bulb cellar. In addition to coffee, banana, fig, palm and pomegranate trees, there’s also a special Christmas display.
Oakville Municipal Greenhouse and Conservatory 1100 Cornwall Rd., Oakville, Ont.; 905 845-6601 ext. 3076; oakville.ca/conservgardens.htm. The facility showcases tropical plants with a pond and waterfall. Tours for children can be arranged.
Allan Gardens Park and Conservatory 19 Horticultural Ave., Toronto; 416-392-7288; toronto.ca/parks/parks_gardens/allangdns.htm. Established in 1858, Allan Gardens features six greenhouses with permanent plant collections plus Christmas and other seasonal exhibits.
Cloud Forest Conservatory between Richmond St. W. and Temperance St., east of Yonge St., Toronto; 416-392-7288; toronto.ca/parks/parks_gardens/bayadelaidegdns.htm. This downtown sanctuary is a steamy tropical greenhouse, crowded with enormous jungle leaves, vines and palm trees. Built vertically as a “modernist ruin,” it features exposed steel, a waterfall and a mural depicting the trades of construction workers.
Tropical Greenhouse Central Experimental Farm, Ottawa; 613-230-3276; friendsofthefarm.ca. The tropical garden features 500 different plants. Highlights include a dwarf banana tree and an Arabian coffee tree, as well as an adjacent cactus and succulent display.
Exhibition Greenhouses, Montreal Botanical Garden 4101, rue Sherbrooke Est,
Montreal; 514-872-1400; www2.ville.montreal.qc.ca/jardin/en/propos/propos. The greenhouses are home to permanent and thematic exhibitions highlighting seasonal plants and flowers. Some 36,000 specimens represent 12,000 species, varieties and cultivars.
Harriet Irving Botanical Gardens Conservatory, Acadia University
32 University Ave., Wolfville, N.S.; 902-585-5242; botanicalgardens.acadiau.ca. Enjoy plant species indicative of each habitat of the outdoor botanical garden, as well as those of the coastal plain, year-round.
If there’s a public greenhouse in your area that you’d like to recommend, please send details to [email protected]