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These southern Ontario gardens are perfect afternoon spots

  • June 14, 2022

About this series: Wheels wants to inspire you to explore. This series of daytrips and longer drives highlight great experiences you can have in the province, and show you why Ontario is “Ours to Discover.”

Whether you’re a pandemic plant parent or a seasoned green thumb, get inspired for your gardening season with a series of day trips to discover the splendour of some wonderful gardens that are a short drive from Toronto. As a bonus, research shows spending time in green spaces helps to boost your mood and creativity.

Royal Botanical Gardens

Just under an hour’s drive west from Toronto, and just south of Highway 403 in Burlington, the Royal features four formal garden areas and its Arboretum — more a recreation of an English landscape with trees and plants than a flower garden.

Does size matter? When it comes to the impressive Royal, it does. This is the biggest botanical garden in Canada, where you’ll find 300 acres of cultivated grounds, 27 kilometres of trails and upwards of 231,000 individual plants. With so much to see, be sure to check its website before you go to find out what is in bloom.

And here is an insider tip: if you find the Royal’s main grounds to be too crowded, head to the more secluded Laking Garden for a contemplative moment. It is set on terraces and is home to the irises and peonies, as well as a heritage garden featuring mixed edible and medicinal plants.

And for the best mash-up of tech and flora, plan a visit to the Royal’s Hendrie Park before the end of August to experience “Seeing the Invisible,” an augmented-reality sculpture exhibit that brings together art and nature.

Toronto Botanical Gardens

A 30-minute drive from downtown on Lawrence Avenue East in North

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