Blooms in the Capital: 4 Botanical Gardens in Ottawa for Nature Enthusiasts

Arun Places to Visit
12 Min Read
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The botanical gardens in Ottawa are always ready to welcome tourists into their breathtaking beauty and vastness of natural habitat.

Besides the Canadian Tulip Festival, the city of Ottawa is known for its gardens with the finest historic landscapes, which are admirable sites with attractive displays of flora throughout the year and in any season.

These gardens’ intriguing structures provide an unexpected treat to everyone’s wonder.

These botanical gardens have a long history and are important to the country as a national heritage.

1. History of Gardens in Ottawa

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Ottawa, the capital city of Canada, is the home of the country’s most popular botanical gardens, which are also the sites for the preservation and conservation of a large variety of plants and shrubs.

During the Victorian Era, the development of botanical gardens and farms was on the rise because of the advancements in the field of natural sciences.

At the same time, in Canada, large green spaces were being used as farms started to be established for research and experiments.

2. Gardens Belonging to Former Estates

Some of these gardens originally belonged to former estates but are now owned by the government to preserve these sites and the historic buildings considered part of the national heritage.

The botanical gardens in Ottawa are notable for their blend of modern and historic landscape concepts.

Apart from the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum, it is not quite wrong to state that they are a Canadian museum of nature with rose gardens, hedge collections, rock garden presentation, and so much other vegetation; the subjective opinion of these botanical gardens cannot be helped from admiration.

3. National Historic Sites

Rideau Hall is the only official residence in Ottawa that is open to the public. A historic site of great national importance, the grounds of Hall are among the finest landscapes in the country.

Similarly to Rideau Hall, many of the botanical gardens with such good space are preserved as sites of national importance.

Out of the many famous and amazing gardens, the following is a list of the four botanical gardens in Ottawa that attract tourists yearly.

4. Beautiful Botanical Gardens in Ottawa

Garden with large green space
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A nice mix of large green spaces and quarries of the most brightly colored flowers would appeal to anyone as a place away from the hustle and bustle of city life and so close to nature.

And when such locations are to be found in Canada’s capital city, Ottawa, then one just cannot help exploring them.

On any bright sunny day, one would be mesmerized by the green space on the vast land, with a very scenic location of majestic green space; the botanical gardens in Ottawa are but pleasure delights amidst the city.

It is easy to locate these hidden gems of Ottawa, and most of these botanical gardens are free to visit and witness the different types of attractions nature offers.

This article will present an extremely informative tour guide about Ottawa’s four botanical gardens.

4.1. Central Experimental Farm

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Laid out adjacent to Dows Lake in Ottawa, the Central Experimental Farm is the Science and TechnoloCenterter for Research of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.

The many buildings on the farm are preserved as a heritage of utmost importance. The farm itself is a site of national heritage.

Some of the major and best-conserved features of the farm are:

(a) Dominion Arboretum

Spread over about 64 acres of land; the Dominion Arboretum comprises a magnificent collection of more than 1,700 varieties of trees and shrubs.

An arboretum that is part of the Central Experimental Farm, it is laid out on the rolling land between Prince of Wales Drive, along Dow’s Lake, and the Rideau Canal.

Some of the trees here can be dated back to the first saplings planted in 1889.

The Dominion Arboretum thrives all year round, experiencing extremely hot and humid summers and extremely cold weather conditions.

(b) Fletcher Wildlife Garden

Fletcher Wildlife Garden presents an overall picture of the immeasurable beauty of nature.

Along with its rich habitat for a large variety of birds, Fletcher Wildlife Garden is a place where one would find peace with oneself while walking down its tranquil pathways.

A little walled garden of flowers lies on the western side of Richmond Road. The garden, along with the mansion, was built by a wealthy local farmer.

Though for subjective opinion, the mansion is no less a heritage building but not open to the public.

A rock garden, a display of local plants, and several water features are among the garden’s most sought-after locations.

Bird watching is quite famous in the Fletcher Wildlife Garden because it is a rich habitat for birds.

(c) Tropical Greenhouse

Located on Maple Drive in Ottawa, the Greenhouse is owned by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.

The Greenhouse is the site of the tropical plant exhibition in the Central Exhibition Farm.

Originally built at Major Hill’s Park in downtown Ottawa, the octagonal structure was later moved to the farm in 1938 to be used as a horticulture research facility.

Now considered a national heritage building, the Greenhouse became open to the public in the 1970s.

Built in 1928, the Greenhouse is free to visit.

With towering evergreen trees, the Tropical Greenhouse is full of scenic locations where one can enjoy nature to the fullest.

(d) Ornamental Gardens

Garden with colourful flowers
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Perhaps the most famous attraction at the Central Experimental Farm is the Ornamental Gardens. From being used as a test facility, it has become a major curating site for large collections of ornamentals.

The Explorer rose collection, the Arthur Percy Saunders peony collection and the exquisite Isabella Preston lilac series are but a few of the collections that bear its name.

Established in 1886, the Central Experimental Farm in Ottawa serves as the central research station for the federal Department of Agriculture and has been designated a National Historic Site of Canada.

To the immense interest of the public, the Ornamental Gardens present historic and new varieties of plants and shrubs.

The varied flowers attract gardeners and people, especially the Macoun sunken garden and hedge collections.

The gardens of the most brightly colored flowers are also popular places to take wedding photos.

4.2. Maplelawn Garden

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A rare example of 19th-century walled gardens, the Maplelawn Garden is exquisite and exceptionally well preserved.

The house and the garden present a lively proof of the European architecture and landscaping style that arrived during that time in Canada and merged with the local concepts.

As a consequence, the architecture of the house bears few similarities with the classic British style, though the windows are more in the native style, as was preferred in the Ottawa Valley.

Still, the garden attached to the house is the most famous element of such an estate and has served its usefulness in being ornamental.

Interesting History of the Maplelawn Garden

Maplelawn was an estate until 1989, owned first by the Thomson family, followed by the Cole family, and has since been managed by the National Capital Commission.

In 1989, Maplelawn was given the status of a National Historic Site.

4.3. Garden of the Provinces and Territories

Laid out lavishly on a 4-acre parcel of land along Confederation Boulevard, the Garden of the Provinces and Territories is a sight to everyone’s awe and wonder.

History of Garden of the Provinces and Territories

Officially opened in 1962, the Garden of the Provinces and Territories marks the union of provinces of Canada and territories.

Created as a centennial project in 1967, the display of the coats of arms and floral emblems of the provinces and territories of Canada is highlighted by two fountains.


Vast green space in a garden
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The landscape of the Garden of the Provinces and Territories is much like the tundra and prairie grasslands.

4.4. Major’s Hill Park

Located above the historic Rideau Canal, near the spot where it empties into the Ottawa River, Major’s Hill Park is considered to be one of the most popular and unique botanical gardens.

botanical gardens in ottawa
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History of Major’s Hill Park

The park was initially named after Colonel By, who built the canal and resided in a residence situated at the site of the park.

When Major Daniel Bolton succeeded Colonel By, the park’s name was changed accordingly in 1832. Even today, the ruins of the residence can be seen at the site.

Views from Major’s Hill Park

Major’s Hill Park offers picturesque views of the Rideau Canal, the Parliament Building, and the National Art Gallery. The view of the Ottawa River is breathtaking.

A peaceful place to walk on a summer day among its huge trees through winding pathways, the park is also a great picnic spot for people.

5. The Footnote

Beyond the comforts of a little walled garden at a private residence, the botanical gardens in Ottawa, of excellent tourist descriptions, are places that must be visited.

These botanical gardens are also among the highest-rated attractions in the city.

Whether one wants the comfort and peace of nature or wants to explore the expansive habitat of a large variety of flora in its natural state preserved and maintained by the government, the botanical gardens in Ottawa are among anyone’s best pleasures.

Last Updated on by Sathi Chakraborty

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