Fed up with the short days of winter? Can’t wait for spring? There’s a delightful place in Toronto to get a fix of the growing season: Allan Gardens Conservatory. What a joy it is to inhale the smell of earth and plants when you walk in the door of this Victorian conservatory, founded in 1858 and open to the public for free every day of the year. During our long, dark winter, a brief tropical getaway is yours, simply by walking through its greenhouse rooms, chock-full of every kind of tropical plant, many in flower. The Christmas show is on now, and you’ll breathe in the smell of narcissus, and be dazzled by amaryllis, cyclamen, azaleas and hibiscus.
It’s also a wonderful place to take the kids over the holiday season. I have great memories of going to Allan Gardens with my dad, as a child. The streams, little rivers, water wheel, bridges and huge fish swimming lazily in the pool are enchanting for little ones. A few trips here can instill a lifelong love of plants, the environment and growing things. It did for me. There’s even a wishing pool, to throw in a coin. Make a date to take in this free Toronto treasure over the holidays. Even if you get there late, between 4 and 5 o’clock (closing time) you can enjoy the gardens by candlelight