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Nature at Its Finest: Beautiful Gardens to Visit in Ottawa

Nature at Its Finest Beautiful Gardens to Visit in Ottawa

Are you in the mood to escape the city life for a while and immerse yourself in nature? Then, you might want to head to the nearest public garden, and luckily, you have a lot of options in Ottawa. 

Some of these public gardens feature sprawling lands and gorgeous fields of colorful flowers. Others are more like greenhouses with a wide variety of plants and flowers; these are climate-controlled, so you can see these specimens year-round.

Whether you just want a relaxing time or to learn more about botany, horticulture, or agriculture, there’s a garden in Ottawa for you. Here are a few recommendations worth checking out. 

Top Gardens in Ottawa

Central Experimental Farm 

From: patburilliphotos

Address: 960 Carling Ave, Ottawa, ON K1A 0C6, Canada


The Central Experimental Farm actually dates all the way back to 1886, and now it serves as a research station for the federal Department of Agriculture. So far, research programs held here include bee research, plant and animal pathology, and bacteriology.

It’s also a popular destination for citizens and tourists alike. Here, you can check out the plants and flowers nurtured by the department; there’s also a small animal barn, so feel free to say hi to the adorable animals. 

Pro Tip:
If you’re interested in learning more about food and agriculture, visit the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum. 

This museum features several exhibitions and events that delve deeper into this topic. You’ll even learn about the history of certain food products (e.g., cacao). 

Dominion Arboretum

From: apt613

Address: Arboretum, Ottawa, ON K1A 0C6, Canada

Contact Number: +16137591982

Technically, the Dominion Arboretum is considered to be a part of the Central Experimental Farm, but it’s majestic enough on its own that it deserves its own spot on this list. 

The Dominion Arboretum is meant to examine how woody plants fare in the Canadian climate. So, in the garden’s 64 acres of land, you can find a wide variety of established trees and shrubs; some are even hundreds of years old!

Some of the trees you can find here include crab apple trees, magnolia groves, Bebb’s Oaks, and lots of Weeping Willows. 

Pro Tip:
Dogs are allowed here, but please, if you bring your furry friends, put them on a leash. 

Ornamental Gardens

From: the.elegant.flower.1

Address: 75 National Capital Commission Scenic Driveway, Ottawa, ON K1A 0Z2, Canada

Operating Hours: Monday to Sunday—7 am to 9 pm

Contact Number: +16132303276

Also considered part of the Central Experimental Farm, the Ornamental Gardens used to be where winter hardy roses, weigela, and peonies were grown for tests. But now, the Gardens is home to large collections of ornamental flowers.

Stroll along Lilac Walk, which features about 125 different lilacs, or check out the hedge collections, which have 65 species, some dating back to 1891. There’s also a flowerbed that boasts over 100 types of irises. 

Every year, the Gardens puts up a display of the choicest annuals and perennials. You can find these flowers in the Annual Collection flowerbed. 

Pro Tip:
If you want to go on a self-guided tour of the Gardens, download this brochure. It has everything you need to know about the Gardens.

Tropical Greenhouse

From: by__kimberly

Address: Maple Dr, Ottawa, ON, Canada

Operating Hours

  • Monday to Friday—9 am to 4 pm
  • Sunday—10 am to 4 pm
  • Closed on Saturday

The Tropical Greenhouse, located near the Central Experimental Farm, may seem small (it only has an area of 1,600 square feet), but don’t miss out on it all the same. 

This greenhouse is housed in a heritage building that was constructed all the way back in 1928 and is noted for its clean, traditional architectural design. Inside, you can find raised plant beds that frame the circular path. 

The plants featured in this greenhouse are heat-loving plants, especially tropical rainforest natives, cacti, and succulents. 

Pro Tip:
The greenhouse gets the most visits in the spring, so if you don’t want to deal with crowds, you might want to visit it some other time. Winter sounds like a great time to visit the greenhouse because it will be warm inside. 

Fletcher Wildlife Garden

Address: near 865, Prince of Wales Dr, Ottawa, ON K2C 3K1, Canada

Operating Hours: Open 24 hours

Contact Number: +16132346767


The Fletcher Wildlife Garden is a project of the Ottawa Field-Naturalists’ Club, and its main goal is to create and restore natural landscapes in both urban and rural properties. For that reason, this garden features several natural habitats. 

You can enjoy a casual stroll in the Evergreen Woods and spy colorful butterflies flying from one flower to another in the Butterfly Meadow. You might also want to stop by the Amphibian Pond to see the wildlife there.

If you just want to sit down and relax, the Backyard Garden and the Rock Garden are where you should go. 

Pro Tip:
If you bring your dog, ensure they’re on a leash. Also, it’s recommended that they wear a diaper so that they won’t leave their waste in the garden. 

Rideau Hall Gardens

Address: 1 Sussex Dr, Ottawa, ON K1A 0A1, Canada

Operating Hours: Monday to Sunday—8 am to 4:30 pm

Contact Number: +16139914422

The grounds of Rideau Hall are undoubtedly one of Canada’s most memorable historic landmarks. Built in the early 19th century, they are designed to look like the British landscape, which is why you can find treed lawns and flowerbeds here. 

Indeed, you’ll feel like you’re a character from Bridgerton or a Jane Austen novel when you go for a walk—nay, a promenade—in these gardens. Check out the rose gardens and the stands of trees here; you can also run freely on the expansive cricket lawns. 

This place also has 20 historic buildings on this 32-hectare land, so explore them when you can. 

Pro Tip:
Since the lawns here are spacious, you can enjoy a picnic here. Just bring your own blanket and basket filled with all your favorite snacks!

Major’s Hill Park Gardens

From: elizabethtorrescoach

Address: Mackenzie Ave, Ottawa, ON K1N 1G8, Canada

Operating Hours: Open 24 hours

Contact Number: +18004651867


Located in downtown Ottawa, Major’s Hill Park sits on top of the Rideau Canal, at the juncture where it joins the Ottawa River. Because of this location, the park boasts a superior view of its surroundings, including the parliament buildings and museums. 

Strolling in this park lets you spot some of the most remarkable trees in Canada’s capital. In particular, you can find native Canadian maple trees and many other trees that are ancient and tower over you like a giant. 

The best time to visit this park is during the spring because that’s when the tulips are in bloom and add so much color to everything!

Pro Tip:
ByWard Market is near the park, so head there if you’re hungry. There are also stalls selling souvenirs and jewelry if you’re in the mood to shop. 

Maplelawn Historic Garden

From: river_littlemissotis

Address: 529 Richmond Rd, Ottawa, ON K2A 0G3, Canada

Operating Hours: Monday to Sunday—7 am to 10 pm

Contact Number: +16132395000


Maplelawn is a historic house that has been around since the 19th century. In 1989, it was officially designated a national historic site, and the house, along with the garden that comes along with it, has been carefully maintained throughout the years. 

The walled garden is reminiscent of European landscaping, with flowerbeds circling a monument. There are also shrubs and trees that are as long as the house itself! 

Springtime is the best time to visit this garden because tulips will be everywhere. If you can’t come during the spring, anytime between April and October is a great alternative. 

Pro Tip:
During the weekdays, the on-street parking near the garden is unavailable; meanwhile, it’s available all day on the weekends. Keep that in mind if you choose to drive to the garden. 

Strathcona Park 

From: allan_capital_g 

Address: 25 Range Rd, Ottawa, ON K1N 8J3, Canada

Operating Hours: Monday to Sunday—5 am to 11 pm

Contact Number: +16135802595

Sitting on the west bank of the Rideau River, Strathcona Park was once a swampy floodplain, and it was believed to be impossible to build on. Back in the day, it served as a training ground for soldiers, but eventually, it was developed to become a public park.

As you can expect, Strathcona Park features sweeping green lawns lined with trees, which are perfect for your picnics. You can also find plot beds of beautiful flowers that are perfect for your Instagram shots! 

One of Strathcona Park’s main highlights is the fountain on top of the hill. It was sculpted by a French artist and features four upright figures that supposedly represent continents (a common artistic metaphor used in the 19th century). 

Pro Tip:
Sometimes, Strathcona Park hosts food festivals. You can check the Ottawa Festivals website, which posts updates about the different festivals happening in the city. 

SPAO Photo-Synthesis Garden 

From: spaocentre

Address: SPAO: Photographic Arts Center, 77 Pamilla St, Ottawa, ON K1S 3K7, Canada

Operating Hours

  • Wednesday to Sunday—12 to 5 pm
  • Closed on Monday and Tuesday

Contact Number: +16135623824


The SPAO Photo-Synthesis Garden has to be one of the most unique gardens in Ottawa. The idea behind this garden is to introduce the public to alternative public art displays and concepts of three-dimensional photo-based installations. 

This garden features a custom-built hanging system over a large garden bed full of brightly colored flowers. So, aside from the gorgeous floral display, you’ll also be able to see interesting photos and other forms of visual art. 

This garden is a partner in the Canadian Tulip Festival, so you can expect the whole place to be full of tulips on the day of the festival. 

Pro Tip:
Special exhibitions, artistic installations, and themed events occur throughout the year in the garden. If you’re interested in attending at least one of them, you should check out the website to see what events are available. 

Landscapes of Canada Gardens

Address: Canadian Museum of Nature, 240 McLeod St, Ottawa, ON K2P 2R1, Canada

Operating Hours

  • Wednesday, Friday to Monday—9:30 am to 4 pm
  • Thursday—9:30 am to 8 pm
  • Closed on Tuesday

Contact Number: +18002634433


Speaking of unique gardens in Ottawa, another perfect example is Landscapes of Canada Gardens, which is located within the premises of the Canadian Museum of Nature. 

This garden is technically an outdoor exhibition space that aims to display plants and trees that are typically found in Canada’s boreal forest, arctic tundra, and prairie grasslands. A few specimens you’ll find here are the white spruce and bearberries.

One of the most memorable sections of this garden has to be the Mammoth Steppe, which is basically a recreation of an Ice Age ecosystem that’s usually associated with Canada’s Yukon. 

Pro Tips:
If you’re tired after walking around, don’t worry because there are benches scattered throughout the garden.There’s also a picnic area if you want to sit down on the green and enjoy some delicious snacks. 

Hog’s Back Park 

From: myreelsfactory and ottawabloggers

Address: 600 Hog’s Back Rd, Ottawa, ON K1V 1H8, Canada

Operating Hours: Monday to Sunday—7 am to 10 pm

Contact Number: +16132395000

Hog’s Back Park is another scenic location that you can find along the Rideau River. It features clusters of trees and sprawling meadows, so strolling here feels like you’re exploring the Canadian countryside.

Aside from the trees and meadows, another highlight is the Hog’s Back Falls, which is basically the Rideau River falling down limestone ledges. The sight of the waterfall is quite captivating, and you might just find yourself staring at it for hours on end. 

If you’re an avian enthusiast, you’ll be delighted to know there are several bird species that love to frequent this place! Be sure to bring your binoculars or your professional camera (if you have one)! 

Pro Tip:
If you want to have a picnic, there are various picnic tables throughout Hog’s Back Park. 

Dow’s Lake Pavilion Boardwalk Garden

Address: 1001 Queen Elizabeth Driveway, Ottawa, ON K1S 5K7, Canada

Operating Hours: Monday to Sunday—9 am to 7 pm

Contact Number: +16132321001


Dow’s Lake Pavilion Boardwalk Garden is one of the best-kept secrets in Ottawa. Nestled at the edge of Dow’s Lake, an artificial lake on the Rideau Canal, this garden offers scenic views of the water; it becomes even more colorful during spring and fall.

Another great thing about this boardwalk is that it’s pretty quiet. So, if you want, you can sit down on the green and enjoy a snack; it’s even better if you’re with your loved ones so that you can enjoy the serenity together. 

Pro Tip:
If you’re looking for other fun things to do, the Pavilion actually has a skating rink and boat rentals. There are also several restaurants (e.g., Lago, Mexi’s, and Umbrella Bar) if you’re hungry. 

Commissioners Park

From: tonia.snow

Address: Preston Street and, Queen Elizabeth Driveway, Ottawa, ON K1S 4N7, Canada

Operating Hours: Open 24 hours

Contact Number: +16132395000

Many of the gardens in Ottawa boast their own fields of tulips, but if there’s one garden that takes the throne of the most dazzling display, it has to be Commissioners Park. 

This garden features over 250,000 tulips—much more than the other gardens in the city! So, whenever it’s tulip season, the whole place is just radiating beauty everywhere, and you can’t help but gasp in awe every time. 

Even when it’s not tulip season, Commissioners Park is still a sight to behold. Annual flowers are planted for the remaining months of the year, and they paint a lovely picture as well. 

Pro Tip:
This garden is actually within walking distance of the Dow’s Lake Pavilion Boardwalk Garden, so if you’re already there, you might want to check this one out as well (and vice versa). 

Garden of the Provinces and Territories

From: aliciarlapierre

Address: Wellington Street at, Bay St, Ottawa, ON K1R 5A2, Canada

Operating Hours: Open 24 hours

Contact Number: +16132395000

The Garden of the Provinces and Territories is a tiny landmark, but it’s definitely eye-catching. Operating since 1962, this garden was built to commemorate the union of Canada’s provinces and territories. 

To be more specific, this garden is designed to look like the various landscapes of the provinces and territories; one section is inspired by the prairies, another by the tundra, and another by the rocky shorelines of the coasts. 

As for the plants and flowers, long-flowering specimens are the most common, but you can also find strong-stemmed perennials. Another highlight of this park is the Tree Fountain, a stainless steel water sculpture that stands six meters tall. 

Pro Tip:
For the best view, head to the large upper terrace, which offers a great vantage point of the field and its surroundings. 

The Children’s Garden

Address: 321 Main St, Ottawa, ON K1S 1C8, Canada

Operating Hours

  • Monday to Friday—8:30 am to 5 pm
  • Closed on Saturday and Sunday

Contact Number: +16139170103


If you’re visiting Ottawa with your little ones, then you should stop by The Children’s Garden. This garden’s primary aim is to educate people, especially young children, about how food can be grown and enjoyed fresh. 

Because of this, most of the plants nurtured here are the edible kind; cilantro, dill plants, and parsley are the most common, but you can also find seasonal plants like sunchokes and peas. 

The best part about this garden is that you can actually taste some of the vegetables! There’s a chalkboard detailing all the plants that are ready to be picked and eaten; once you’ve made your pick, be sure to dispose of the stems and pods in the compost bin. 

Pro Tip:
You can book the garden for an event or gathering. For more information, send an email to [email protected]

Confederation Park Gardens

From: moulininthepark

Address: Elgin St, Ottawa, ON K1P 5J2, Canada

Operating Hours: Open 24 hours

Contact Number: +16132395000

Confederation Park is considered one of the “capital parks” in Ottawa, so if you can’t visit all of the ones mentioned in this list, you can prioritize this one. This park features paved pathways for strolling and a lawn for picnics. 

You can also find sculptures and monuments here. A few examples include the South African War Memorial, the National Aboriginal Veterans Monument, and the memorial fountain honoring Colonel By (this was originally found in Trafalgar Square in London!).

Of course, this park comes truly alive during tulip season. A whole field of tulips is all you can see, and that is such a breathtaking sight! 

Pro Tip:
During summer, Confederation Park is also one of the locations for the NCC Bistro, so check it out if you can. There’s a wide variety of food and drinks served here, including sandwiches, salads, assorted ice cream, and sangria.

Nesbitt Building Greenhouse Complex at Carleton University

From: carleton_u

Address: Carleton University, 1125 Colonel By Dr, Ottawa, ON K1S 5B6, Canada

Operating Hours

  • Monday to Friday—9 am to 4 pm
  • Closed on Saturday and Sunday


The greenhouse complex in the Nesbitt Biology Building is one of Carleton University’s main highlights simply because it’s considered one of the best university greenhouses in Canada. 

Primarily used for research and education, the Nesbitt Building Greenhouse Complex features a comprehensive plant collection. In fact, there are thousands of specimens here; a few common examples include corn, soybean, papaya, and sugarcane.

Because of the wide variety of plant selections, the greenhouse is climate-controlled; specifically, the climate simulates tropical and temperate environments. So, even if you’re visiting during the winter, you can still check out the plants here. 

Pro Tip:
You can use the greenhouse as a backdrop or setting for creative projects (photo or video). For example, someone used the greenhouse as a setting for a murder scene! 

If you’re interested, you have to contact the biology department. Check out this page for more information. 

International Peace Garden

From: ninajuarez

Address: 50 Sussex Dr, Ottawa, ON K1M 2C9, Canada

Operating Hours: Open 24 hours

There are only a few international peace gardens all over the world, and you can find one in Ottawa, which is located near the Embassy of France and the Rideau Hall Gardens. 

True to its name, this garden offers a peaceful respite for visitors. You’ll be sitting among trees while enjoying views of the Ottawa River and the calming sounds of Rideau Falls, which is near the garden. 

During tulip season, this garden becomes a sanctuary of gorgeous tulips. If you’re lucky, you might also witness the cherry blossoms in full bloom!

Pro Tip:
This is a perfect spot for picnics. You can also bring a book or your best noise-canceling headphones as you take a break from the world. 

Canadensis: The Garden of Canada

Address: Experimental Farm, Prince of Wales Dr, Ottawa, ON K2C 3K1, Canada

Operating Hours: Monday to Sunday—8 am to 8 pm

Contact Number: +16134545673


The Canadensis Botanical Garden, officially known as Canadensis: The Garden of Canada, celebrates the country’s natural heritage. So, if you want to learn about the country’s botanical diversity and beauty, this is the place to go.

This garden features several areas dedicated to displaying plants from all parts of Canada. Some highlights include the First Nations Landscape, Canuck Garden, the Belvedere, and the Conservatory. 

In addition to displaying plants from all over the country, this garden has art exhibitions and displays; sometimes, there are even art installations throughout the area. These displays change often, so you’ll have a different experience every time. 

Pro Tip:
If you want to learn more about botany, this garden often hosts educational lectures and talks. Check this page for more information. 

Patterson Creek Park

From: datenightcapital

Address: 524 O’Connor St, Ottawa, ON K1S 3P8, Canada

Operating Hours: Monday to Sunday—5 am to 11 pm

Contact Number: +16132395000

Named after George Patterson (former chief of the Rideau Canal Commissariat), Patterson Creek Park is a historic landmark dating back to the early 1900s. It once held tennis courts and lawn bowling grounds, but they’re replaced by lawns and flowerbeds.

Shrubs and majestic old trees can also be found in the park. For this reason, the park has a magical feel to it, like you’re strolling in a romantic fairy tale land. 

Aside from all the bright flowerbeds and strong trees, Patterson Creek Park has a pavilion. This heritage building has a washroom and a changing room, and it’s also the perfect shelter when it rains. 

Pro Tip:
Every summer, the park hosts an NCC Bistro, which sells a wide range of delicious food. The menu usually includes an assortment of sandwiches, pizza, salads, and baked goods; alcoholic beverages are available as well. 

Lansdowne Park

Address: 1525 Princess Patricia Way, Ottawa, ON K1S 5J3

Lansdowne Park is an award-winning park in Ottawa. In particular, it won the Ottawa Urban Design Award of Excellence and the 2016 CSLA Jury’s Award of Excellence and National Award.

Featuring 40 acres of land, Lansdowne Park boasts sprawling lawns and plazas that are perfect for picnics and casual strolls. There are also several civic gardens filled with the prettiest and most fragrant flowers; if you’re lucky, you can spot butterflies as well. 

If it’s raining, head to The Aberdeen Pavilion, which is basically a great tent at the heart of Lansdowne Park. Sometimes, this space is used for art exhibitions, so you can enjoy seeing all the amazing artwork pieces by talented Canadian artists.

Pro Tip:
Lansdowne Park hosts the Ottawa Farmers Market every Sunday, from 10 am to 3 pm. If you want to purchase fresh produce, you should visit this farmers’ market.