A Floral Wonderland
A Floral Wonderland
During my two-month stay in Montreal, I came to realize that nature sometimes comes at a price. All of a sudden, I had to get used to the idea of paying to have access into a beach (well, it’s not even a real beach It’s just an artificial one.) and the botanic garden. Being the frugal traveller that I am, I had to talk myself out of checking out the beach even though I was starting to feel more and more beach-sick by each passing days. That explained why I was beside myself with joy when I was told by a Montréalais that a visit to the botanic garden during afterhours is free of charge.)
The first time I found myself riding in the cable car ascending to the top of tour de Montréal or the Olympique tower, (which was the stadium for the Olympic in the late 60s.) I was already flabbergasted by the size of the garden from up there. Looking down, you sort of get a preview of what’s on display in the garden. We were all keen on going that day but were discouraged to know that entry costs 16 dollars. We went to Parc Maisonneuve instead, which was not too bad but hardly quenched the thirst for visiting what looked like a botanical paradise.
On a sunny afternoon, I hopped on a peak-hour metro to Pie-IX, I hurried through the tower and walked by a number of bikers. The sky was bordering on azure blue. The air was crisp and permeated with the unique aroma emit from the plants, trees, mud, and the flower. In the middle of summer, there was surprisingly a balmy wind. Even the vertically-challenged tower was looking more beautiful than ever.
I passed by the turnstile and there I was in the middle of a whopping 75 hectare (It’s the third largest in the world.) surrounded by a wealth of flowers and plants. I was absolutely transfixed by some of the exhibit. Near the front, you have Japanese Garden next to the Chinese Garden. The layout of both gardens looked familiar to me with the arched passageway, pavilion, and koi fish in the pond. Venturing further into the garden, I stepped into the realm of First Nation Garden, where the landscape was radically different from what I’d just seen minutes ago. There was a straw hut and the indigenous plants along the path. At one point, I got lost and walked upon a group of bird fanatics who stopped me and insisted on showing me the birds on the top of the towering trees.
I didn’t understand much of what they said but that was certainly a magical moment.
I, together with a group of strangers, were completely in awe of the beauty and the serenity of mother nature.
All in all, a trip to the jardin botanique is really refreshing and if anything, I learnt not to take nature for granted. I mean, all those landscaped gardens certainly require many laborious hours of meticulous planning and implementation.
Over the summer months, entry is free after 1800 ‘til sunset. (Sunset is at around 20hr.)
For some reason, not enough people seem to know about this. Thus, it never gets too crowded. It’s not officially advertised on the website, and some staff actually told me that this is a piece of misinformation. Well, all I can say is I never had to pay as long as I showed up after 1800. You might as well give it a go. Beware though, this does not include insectarium, which is close after five. [more]
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