Wednesday, January 13, 2016
Secret Garden: Toronto's Allan Gardens
Over the years the city has thankfully continued to invest and grow the area with the same original intent of green space publicly accessible at no charge, and it's current iteration takes up over 16,000 sq feet of land at the intersection of Carlton st and Sherbourne. While much of the original building was gutted by a fire in the early 1900's, the land is graced with several classic style greenhouses, including the Palm house built in 1910, and a greenhouse moved from another site that belonged to the Botany Department of University of Toronto, which was built in 1932.
This is one of my favourite secret gardens in the city. Especially at this time of year, when it is cold and dreary outside. Step into the doors of Allan Gardens and it is warm and green and full of life. You enter first into the Palm house, which is exactly as it sounds- filled with large tropical plants. Including a banana tree, as you can see above.
There are several greenhouses that shoot off from the main Palm house. You wander down pathways that meander through what feels like a private world. Waterfalls trickle softly, birds flit about, there is a pond with turtles sunning themselves and you can smell the rich earthy smell that comes with green growing things.
Even in the dead of winter there is beauty blooming in here.
The best part about Allan gardens though, is when you move from this incredibly lush moist greenhouse into the smaller desert greenhouse, where they house an incredible array of cacti and succulents that is dizzying to behold.