Your wedding at Toronto Botanical Garden (TBG) can be perfect and that is the reason I wrote this article - to help you, the bride to be. You can find info on the cost, a list of the best locations and times for photography, information on the venue, the gardens, parking, accommodation and much more. Also, you can find a real wedding album at the end of the article.
Here is the structure of this article:
According to Toronto Botanical Garden, a wedding costs between $1,300 and $3,000 for the rental of the Garden Hall or the Floral Hall. Please see more details on the cost below. On top of the base cost, you can expect several mandatory fees that increase the total amount by about 35%. A 50% deposit is required to book the hall. Please find more details below.
Because TBG is a volunteer driven charity and the city of Toronto owns the establishment, this one of the most affordable wedding venues in the GTA. Here is some information on renting spaces. The fees cover only the space or rental and do not include the food and beverages, DJ, wedding planner, photographer, decor, etc. The cost is the same whether you have only a wedding ceremony or a ceremony and reception.
The Floral Hall is a is a 3,400 sq. ft. room that can accommodate up to 200 guests for sit down meals. The Floral Hall boasts 20 ft ceilings, and large skylights let in lots of natural lighting. The base rental rate for this room is $3100 on a Saturday or $2600 on a Friday or Sunday, on a long weekend Sunday the rate is $3,100.
The Floral Hall has its own garden, the Floral Courtyard. Your guests can sneak out during the reception to enjoy a drink in the private courtyard surrounded by walls, etched glass, espalier trees and a water curtain. The Floral Courtyard can also be used as a cocktail area and for ceremonies and can accommodate up to 145 guests when set up as a theatre.
In addition to the rental rate there are mandatory fees:
For more information on the SOCAN fees, please visit the SOCAN licensing page
The approximate cost including the additional mandatory charges for the the Floral Hall will be $4,300. This includes the tables, chairs, podium, projector screen and basic A/V equipment. The rental fee gives you access to the garden grounds for free (a wedding photography permit costs $275). Please note that if you want to photograph in Edwards Gardens you need to purchase a permit from the City of Toronto by calling 416-392-8188.
Important Information about renting the spaces. You'll be able to access the venue from 10 a.m. on your wedding day. Your wedding reception should end by 1 a.m. because the staff has to tear down tables, the decorations and to clean up the space by 2 will a.m.
Garden Hall can accommodate up to 80 guests for a reception with a dance floor and the Garden Hall patio can seat up to 120 guests theatre style for ceremonies or be used for cocktail receptions (max. 100 people). This space features beautiful light fixtures and a patio surrounded by a water channel and a waterfall. The base rental rate of this room is $1,300 on a Saturday or $1,200 on a Friday or Sunday.
Should you have any question about any wedding packages or a banquet hall, please contact Sales or the wedding planner at (416) 397-1340
To say that the botanic garden offers beautiful backdrops for your special day and engagement portraits would be a massive understatement. I personally prefer the following settings.
Please note that because of its location in proximity of Wilket Creek and the pond, often the grass and soil are wet, especially in spring, so you need to be careful with your wedding gown. To play safe and avoid ruining your beautiful dress, you might also want to consider a pre wedding photo shoot.
TBG has 17 award winning themed gardens. First, the Entry Garden Walked designed by a Duch designer is located next to the parking lot. The second garden named "Containers in the Garden. If the weather collaborates, a perfect spot for your ceremony is the Westview Terrace located next to the Garden Hall. The Westview Terrace features a waterfall and a curved water channel that has a cooling effect appreciated in the summer by the groom and groomsmen wearing dark suits. The natural limestone bridge crossing the water channel is a great spot for a romantic pictures.
Garden Hall Courtyard is a natural amphitheatre located by the Garden Hall and can host your ceremony along with the Westview Terrace.
Floral Hall Courtyard (above) is a very popular setting for wedding ceremonies. Please note that this is an enclosed space that can be used even during your cocktail hour or reception in the Floral Hall.
Nature's Garden blends two habitats from areas around Toronto. The western part, on the Wilket Creek Ravine includes trees, shrubs and perennials from the Carolinian Forest. On the other side, the eastern part of the Nature Garden created a habitat found in the St. Lawrence forest and the Canadian Shield.
Kitchen Garden revolves around a yearly theme such as: Japanese (2006), Caribbean (2007), India (2008), Ukraine (2009), Italian (2010), Irish (2011), Chinese (2012), World Crop Learning Gardens Program (2013), Inspired by Niji Jabbour's book Groundbreaking Food Gardens (2014), Pollinator Playground (2015), Edible/Drinkable Garden(2016). With is picturesque backdrop, The Kitchen Garden is also a great location for bride and groom portraits.
If you want to have a large group photo with all the guests present on your Big Day, the best spot is in front of the main building, Dembroski Centre for Horticulture, next to the parking lot. Below is the image I took minutes after the ceremony. Please note that the light is harsh between 10 am and 3pm, so your photographer needs a powerful strobe to overpower the sun. The image below was captured using a studio light from a high vantage point.
For smaller group photos, please head to the fountain on top of the stairs by the pathway leading to Edward Gardens. The fountain adds to the beauty of the scene. Please note that before 4pm the sun will be above to the right of the groups creating a Rembrandt light that can be tiring to the eyes of the guests. A trick I employ in such difficult conditions is to ask guests to close their eyes and only open them when I count to three. One, two, three, open, click.
As a Toronto wedding photographer, I always try to take advantage of the best light possible. The light is the first step in achieving a great image. The best time to photograph the wedding day and engagement portraits is during the golden hour. The following two tables present the morning and the evening Golden hours. For more precise sunrise and sunsets by day and location, please visit this page.
Table 1: Morning Golden hour in Greater Toronto Area
|Month||Morning Golden Hour|
|January||7:50 - 8:50 a.m.|
|February||7:20 - 8:20 a.m.|
|March||7:30 - 8:30 a.m.|
|April||6:30 - 7:30 a.m.|
|May||5:50 - 6:50 a.m.|
|June||5:35 - 6:35 a.m.|
|July||5:50 - 6:50 a.m.|
|August||6:20 - 7:20 a.m.|
|September||7:00 - 8:00 a.m.|
|October||7:30 - 8:30 a.m.|
|November||7:10 - 8:10 a.m.|
|December||7:40 - 8:40 a.m.|
Table 2: Evening Golden hour in Greater Toronto Area
|Month||Evening Golden Hour|
|January||4:00 - 5:00 p.m.|
|February||4:40 - 5:40 p.m.|
|March||6:20 - 7:20 p.m.|
|April||7:00 - 8:00 p.m.|
|May||7:30 - 8:30 p.m.|
|June||8:00 - 9:00 p.m.|
|July||8:00 - 9:00 p.m.|
|August||7:20 - 8:20 p.m.|
|September||6:20 - 7:20 p.m.|
|October||5:30 - 6:30 p.m.|
|November||4:00 - 5:00 p.m.|
|December||3:40 - 4:40 p.m.|
Parking is free at TBG and donations are welcome. Unfortunately, you cannot reserve parking for your guests and there have been cases where parking was insufficient. That is the case, your best bet is to find street parking on Blaine Dr., Brian Cliff Dr. and Lakefield Dr., located within five minutes walk from the gardens entrance.
If you have out of town guests, you should be aware that the establishment has an agreement with Westin Price Toronto hotel located 6km from the gardens. Ask them for any specials they have on group reservations. Another establishment you might want to contact are Toronto Don Valley Hotels and Suites.
We all know children need to have fun on the wedding day or they can derail a ceremony or reception. Fortunately, the James Boyd Children's Centre is an indoor area located across from the Floral Hall where children can learn and play. The James Boyd Children's centre is equipped with teaching materials and plenty of toys to keep kids entertained for the duration of your wedding.
Toronto Botanical Garden is a four acres oasis of flowers and tranquility, located in Toronto Ontario Canada, minutes from Don Valley Parkway and Yonge Street on Lawrence Avenue E. TBG is located between the Bridle Path at W, Lawrence Avenue East at North, Leslie Street at East and Wilket Creek Park at South. It features 17 theme gardens. The beautiful gardens are crossed by Wilket Creek and are well known not only for the beauty of its landscape, buildings and plants, but also for the organic farmer market that takes place on Thursdays from 2pm to 7pm year round.
Other attractions are the greenhouse, the knot garden and the green roof of the Dembroski Centre for Horticulture. The botanic garden even have a pollinator garden with bee hotels. Unfortunately, you can not access the pollinator garden, but, if you are lucky, you can buy the honey from the TBG shop. The gardens have only five bee hives, so the honey quantity is limited. The wax is used to make TBG bee soaps, also sold in the same shop.
The knot garden is a year round wonder created by shaping plants according a geometric design. The fist knot gardens were established in England during Queen Elizabeth 1st and were common at the French and Italian royal houses in the sixteen century. They were composed of aromatic and culinary herbs and were called parterres. The walkways in the knot gardens are covered with fine gravel for a comfortable walk and to provide a contrast between the dark herbs and the light coloured grave. The Beryl Ivey Knot Garden can be best admired from the top of the Spiral Mound where a serpentine pathway leads the visitor to an observation point.
The main building (photo above) is a glass pavilion that hosts offices, the Floral Hall and the Garden Hall where your reception will take place. Besides that, the building has two bridal studios, The Weston Family horticultural library (one of the largest in Ontario), and the James Boyd Children Centre. There, on your big day your guests can leave their children play or learn about the environment. The roof of the Dembroski Centre for Horticulture is a 2,400 sq. ft green space that is used as a planter and natural insulation for the above-mentioned building. The sloping green roof was planted with drought resistant plants and is a more beautiful alternative to traditional construction materials.
Dembroski Centre for Horticulture is also an excellent spot to take photos of large groups. Here is a photo of all the guests at a Chinese Irish wedding. As a side note this is a very energy efficient building, using about 30% less energy than a regular building.
Please build time buffers because this is a public park with many activities and on your wedding day it will take a while to take photos in the popular spots. Hobbyist photographers, to runners, tai chi ;practitioners, bird watchers and painters can derail the most exact itinerary. TBG is also home to the Toronto Gesneriad Society, an international botanic club named after Konrad von Gesner, a Swiss naturalist. Also, the main building hosts the TBG book club, meant to gather lovers of books with gardening themes. Even more, TBG volunteers offer free garden tours and the James Boyd offers child education programs and summer camps in the Teaching Garden or indoors if the weather does not permit. We are talking about 6000 children annually and after shooting here I can tell you it can be noisy at times.
The gardens hold a perennials sale every year at the beginning of May and you might want to check with the venue the exact date as it might interfere with your big day. Last and very important, city of Toronto Ontario is planning to redevelop the botanic garden and transform it into an international destination. The park is a public garden and you will need to share the beautiful landscapes and facilities with the visitors.
Corporations such as become members of TBG in exchange for tours, discount on space rentals where they can hold team building and corporate events.
All the above can affect your timeline and it is important for you to know what to expect so you can plan your big day accordingly.
For the eco-friendly brides and grooms, this is the perfect location for you! According to its mission, "TBG connects people with plans, inspiring us to live in harmony with nature."
First, the TBG does not use power tools or pesticides in the gardens. All the work is done by volunteers.
Even more, the main building received a Toronto Green Award and a silver rated LEED certification (Leadership in Energy and Design). In 2005, the Dembroski Centre for horticulture was retrofitted to meet the high ecological standards of TBG. The sloping green roof of the building helps cooling and heating the structure thus reducing its carbon footprint. The fretted glass blocks 50% of the heat gain to reduce air conditioning costs. The building uses sensors to determine the CO2 levels emitted by people in the building and regulates its ventilation based on the building occupancy. The trellis in front of the building blocks sun rays in the summer and allows the light to come through the windows in the winter when the leaves have fallen.
TBG donates yearly over 700 lb of produce to food banks in the city. The charity offers over 150 courses from flower arrangements, horticulture to yoga.
In the unfortunate event that this facility is booked on your intended wedding day, you might want to consider Toronto Music Garden, Royal Botanical Gardens, Montreal Botanical Garden, Liuna Gardens on Lake Ontario for your special event. While Alexander Muir Gardens off Yonge Street will not be able to host your wedding reception, it is a perfect setting for your portraits session. Spadina House is another establishment you might want to visit and includes a conservatory built in 1913, more than 100 years ago. Should your budget allow it, call Casa Loma or a golf club that will be a perfect setting for your big day.
Luke and Cam had a beautiful outdoor ceremony on the patio adjoining the Floral Hall. In the image below you can see how splendid the place looks.
Cam got ready in Studio 2 upstairs. The photographs below are only a few of the many shots I took during the bride's preparation.
The following image of the bride putting on her veil is one of my favourites.
As we were running out of time, the bride left for the outdoor ceremony.
The picture below captures not only the beauty of this wedding venue adorned with multicoloured flowers and plants , but also the intensity of the processional.
A perfect spot for a group shot is the Arrival Courtyard in front of the main building.
After the traditional group photos we moved to the wedding portraits session, my favourite part of the day.
Cam and Luke's reception was held in the Floral Hall. The couple prepared a few surprises for the guests. Below you can see the lions dance in a cinematic picture that reminds us of a James Bond movie.
During the evening we took a few more creative shots. Among them, the picture below is my favourite from this special event.
If you prefer to watch the video clip containing highlights of the day, please find it below.