Edwards Gardens is one of Toronto's most serene spots
Edwards Gardens is a destination for anyone looking for a beautiful botanical experience in the city.
With kempt lawns, swirling hedges and the tranquil sounds of Wilket Creek's running water, this garden is open for enjoyment all year round from morning until night.
Like most of the best nature reprieves in Toronto, this sprawling 34.4-acre piece of land is located in the Don Valley. Right on the corner of Leslie Street and Lawrence Avenue, the gardens are quite a journey from the downtown core, but easily accessible by bus.
The garden is named after Rupert Edwards, a rich businessman who owned the varnishing company Canada Varnish Ltd. According to the history books, Edwards salvaged the poorly cared-for stretch of land from a Scottish weaver named Alexander Milne in 1944.
With the intention of one day turning the property into a public park (it became Edwards Gardens officially in 1956) Edwards landscaped the garden into the carefully arranged property that you see today.
Now a popular backdrop for many weddings and photo shoots, the park has recently joined forces with the 4.4-acre non-profit Toronto Botanical Garden, with the TBG acting as an entry point leading into Edwards Garden.
Upon arrival, the TBG's Terraced Garden acts as a buffer between the property and the parking lot—which is free to use but accepts donations—showcasing perennials and ribbons of plants.
Straight ahead you'll find the George and Kathy Dembroski Centre for Horticulture, a LEED accredited project. Inside you'll find a gift shop, information desk and library. The centre also houses some offices and educational spaces, topped by a 2,400 square-foot green roof.
Past this, the Beryl Ivey Knot Garden is a beautiful space that flaunts the pruning prowess of the TBG staff, featuring evergreen and deciduous hedges in all geometric shapes and sizes.
Head a little north of the knot garden and you'll find the Spiral Mound, a small winding hill that leads to a viewing platform at the top. It's only three metres high yet climbing it feels like embarking on an epic journey. At the top it offers a pretty phenomenal view of the garden.
As you make your way northwest toward Edwards Garden, you'll pass the quaint Garden Cafe, located in a historic barn serving breakfast, lunch and refreshments.
The Kitchen and Herb Garden is full of planters where fruits and herbs are grown using organic gardening techniques. Veggies harvested here are donated to the North York Harvest Food Bank.
Continue along the main path going west and you'll pass the greenhouse (no entry here) before finally entering Edwards Gardens proper.
Here the land opens up into the sprawling garden space. You'll descend into it from stone steps taking you past evergreens and willow trees. The Edwards Gardens fountain statue is a notable landmark that will let you know you've arrived in the main area.
There are benches lining the perimeter of this area—some secluded, others less so—which are perfect for pit stops and an expansive view of the land. During days of good weather you'll find get-togethers in abundance here.
Here's is where you'll also likely notice a sudden influx in digital cameras: both amateur hobbyists and professionals often flock to this area for its pretty flower beds and the handful of photogenic bridges which pass over Wilket Creek.
One of the many great features of Edwards Gardens is the multitude of friendly animals. You're guaranteed to see at least one type of woodland creature here, likely ducks but sightings of red-tailed squirrels, chipmunks, and the occasional groundhog are pretty common as well.
The south side of these bridges contain more forested areas and walkways that offer shallow entry into the woods. Edwards Gardens will often give you the option of taking the easy way (read: smooth, paved paths) or an alternate trek.
Either way, hikes here never get too challenging, and the space is accessible to people of all ages. If you head too southwest you'll soon find yourself nearing an exit that leads to the affluent Bridle Path (which is a sight to see in itself).
Before long you'll find yourself nearing another bridge that will take you to Wilket Creek Park, marking the end of Edwards Gardens.
If you're walking at a consistent pace, exploring the entirety of this garden shouldn't take you more than a two hours, but leave an extra couple of hours for a picnic in the grassy area, you'll likely befriend an animal if you do.
Join the conversation Load comments