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.