Montreal Botanical Garden Review – Beautiful, Enveloping and Vibrant, Part of a User-Friendly City

My husband had a professional meeting in Montreal and I had the delight of joining him, giving me the opportunity of exploring the city.  My husband and I frequently walk through the Chicago Botanic Garden, near where we live.  We enjoyed the chance to experience new gardens.  With friends of ours who live in England, we explored the Montreal Botanical Garden.


biodome-near garden

We took the Metro, which was reasonable in cost, clean and very efficient.  Our stop for the garden was also the stop for the Olympic Stadium, but we didn't have the for a visit. 


Approaching the Montreal Botanical Garden ( Photo: Leon Keer)


The garden is 85 years old, founded by Brother Marie-Victorin in 1931. It boasts thirty thematic gardens, and a collection of 22,000 plant species and cultivars, 10 exhibition greenhouses and the Frederic Back Tree Pavillion and Arboretum on a 75-hectare (190 acres) site. . “It was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 2008 as it is considered to be one of the most important botanical gardens in the world due to the extent of its collections and facilities.” (Wikipedia)  Given our available time, we only saw selected parts.


Anamazing and vast rose collection

We began our exploration walking through the rose garden, which was extensive and beautiful.  Along the path the open space around the roses changed to a forested area that was enveloping.  Something in the design of this garden gave all of us the sense that rather than look at the garden areas, we were a part of sections we were passing through.


Chinese Garden -rear under construction

Soon, we came upon the Chinese garden, though under construction, it was charming.  Walking further along the forested path, there was a circle dedicated to the Native American tribes that had inhabited this area in early times and had preserved the forest, and an exhibition area with artifacts from earlier times.


Visitors become part of the garden


Chinese Garden


The Influence of the Native Tribes



We turned and soon came upon The Japanese Garden, with all the requisite parts but the way it was arranged was very user friendly.  There were places to sit and relax and observe this garden and its calming effect.  We noticed many carp in the pond and soon a large heron landed and posed.  I am still amazed that so many carp are maintained with a heron, probably more herons around to eat them.  The scene was idyllic and the shade of the shelter very pleasant on a hot day.


Bridge in the Japanese Garden




A heron visits (Photo: Leon Keer)

The garden space set aside to attract butterflies, especially Monarchs, was charming.  We passed beehives and group learning about the importance of bees. And then we explored the ”Insectarium”, a museum in the garden. We went through the aquatic garden and to the display about the environment, a building that opened to the greenhouses. I found the greenhouses different from others I have seen elsewhere.  They were stretched out, and reminded me of a train. 


A butterfly home



Find the butterfly







Our time was going quickly and we decided on a quick look at the gift shop and found it filled with tempting items, and some very nice seeds.  Needing a pick-me-up, we also stopped at the café and found it lovely and relaxing.


A lovely place for a snack


Gift Shop

As we left I once again enjoyed the large and beautiful area of flowers that grace a large space in the front of the gardens, before the pay booth and thought how lovely a spot for the community to enjoy without cost.

Information about the Montreal Botanical Garden


But wait, there is more to tell about this very user friendly city. In addition to the Montreal Botanical Gardens, I had the opportunity to see several other parts of Montreal.  A Context Travel Tour offered insight regarding the French Canadians.  Some of our group at the meeting mentioned some of the following:


Pointe-à-Callière Museum

Its website states:” Pointe-à-Callière, the Montréal Museum of Archaeology and History, opened on May 17, 1992 as part of celebrations to mark Montréal's 350th birthday. Set on the very birthplace of the city, the Museum is a major attraction in Old Montréal. It is a recognized national historic and archaeological site, a historic ensemble whose sites, buildings and collections form a unique cultural complex showcasing some of the tangible traces of the city’s past. In addition to its permanent exhibitions, Where Montréal Was Born and Pirates or Privateers? – The Cultural Connection, and its multimedia show, the Museum presents local and international temporary exhibitions, along with school programs and a large number of cultural activities.”


Montréal Museum of Archaeology and History, Photo:Caroline Bergeron


Gift shop at the museum, Photo:courtesy of th emuseum

The multimedia show that made the beginnings of Montreal to feel alive, was a fascinating attraction.  But each part of the museum was exciting- the pirates, the special Hermes exhibition, the gift shop, and the underground artifacts.  It is a must see.


large chapel


Rebuilt chape

The Notre-Dame Basilica has a fascinating history and it was very important when the French ruled Montreal.


“One of the best-loved dolls of all time now has her own museum at Les Cours Mont-Royal in downtown Montréal: Barbie Expo is the largest permanent exhibition of Barbie dolls in the world, and features over 1,000 Barbies, including Hollywood stars, unique one-of-a-kind Barbie dolls and glamourous outfits created by famous fashion designers.” The museum accepts donations for Make-A-Wish Québec.


The bridal collection - Barbie


The fashion runway

As someone who is not a fan of Barbie, I was absolutely astounded by this museum.  It presented fashion as history.  It was also beautiful and fascinating.

We found Montreal to be a very user-friendly and very friendly place that was easy to enjoy.  We were surprised to learn it is on an island. One of our tour guides that Montreal has a restaurant for every four people. It is considered to be the restaurant capitol of North America.  Many are located in the underground city and in shopping centers.  The three we really liked were:


Restaurant Beijing Montreal,  


Monsieur Restaurant & Bar

We would be happy to make a return visit and explore more of the city and its great restaurants.


Photos:  B. Keer unless otherwise noted


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