The Montreal Botanical Garden (French: Jardin botanique de Montréal) is recognized as one of the largest and most important botanical gardens in the world. Sitting on 75 hectares (185 acres) of green space, the Montreal Botanical Garden features various thematic spaces and greenhouses that are open year-long. What makes the botanical garden special is its rich collection of 22,000 plant species and cultivars, as well as its 10 exhibition greenhouses, Tree House, and around 30 thematic gardens. The reason why the Botanical Garden is so important is mainly because of its vast collection, which is one of the largest in the world.
With so much to see at the Montreal Botanical Garden, you can easily spend several hours exploring the different themed gardens, strolling through the grounds and marveling at the wonderful beauty. One of the main reasons for visiting the Montreal Botanical Garden are the various thematic gardens located throughout Botanical Garden. Some of the most popular thematic gardens and greenhouses include:
- Chinese Garden: Opened in 1991, the Chinese Garden is the largest of its kind outside China. It was inspired by the private gardens of the Ming dynasty. Everything in the Chinese Garden was built by Chinese workers in Shanghai.
- Japanese Garden: Built a few years before the Chinese garden by a Japanese designer, the Japanese Garden, spreads out over 2.5 hectares. The garden displays authentic Japanese gardening by showcasing the Japanese philosophy of landscaping.
- First Nations Garden: This popular garden pays tribute to the indigenous populations of Canada. This garden also highlights the special relationship that the first nations had with nature. The garden features species that are local to Quebec and other parts of North America.
- Tropical Food Plants Greenhouse: This large greenhouse complex that is filled with plants from all over the world. Through this greenhouse, you can discover the incredible diversity of tropical food plants.
The Botanical Garden also offers a colorful program of events, exhibitions and activities all year long. One of the most popular exhibits at the garden is the Butterflies Go Free exhibit, which takes place from February to April. Butterflies Go Free (French: Papillons en liberté) is an annual exhibit featuring thousands of live tropical butterflies and moths released in the Grande Serre of the exhibition greenhouses. There are lots and lots of butterflies flying everywhere and they often land on visitors. Another popular yearly event is the Magic of Lanterns (French: Magie des Lanternes) which illuminates the Chinese and Japanese gardens with beautiful lanterns and colorful oriental-themed installations during the autumn season.
The Montreal Botanical Garden is one of four nature-focused attractions belonging to the City of Montreal in the Space for Life (French: Espace pour la vie) museum district. The others are the Biodome, the Insectarium, and the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium, all of which are near Montreal’s downtown core and the Olympic Stadium. It was designated as a National Historic Site of Canada in 2008 and is considered to be one of the most important botanical gardens in the world because of its extensive facilities and its collection. Every year, over 1 million people visit the Montreal Botanical Garden.