In our region, winter represents a season of dormancy, short days and lots of time inside keeping warm. Nevertheless, the Jardin botanique de Montréal’s exterior gardens are teeming with life and discoveries are merely a short walk away. During the winter months, the grounds are open and accessible to all from 9am to 5pm. Keep reading to learn how you can make the most out of winter, in our garden, free of charge!
Walking Into a Better Mood
Did you know that getting 2.5 hours of moderate to vigorous physical activity, every week, can reduce stress, improve mental health and get you feeling great? Incorporating outdoor walks into your weekly routine can promote happiness and greater life satisfaction. Walking in spaces surrounded by nature such as trees, shrubs, birds and mammals can make the experience even more calming and memorable.
The Jardin botanique de Montréal’s main belt path covers up to 5km of paved walking space. Snow is plowed from the main path regularly, making a complete trail around the garden accessible to walkers and folks with children’s strollers.
From the main path, you can observe the beauty of tree silhouettes and unique bark patterns from some remarkable specimens in our collections. For example, you can admire the colourful patterns of exfoliating bark on the seven-son flower (Heptacodium miconoides) and Chinese elm (Ulmus parvifolia), two small stature trees that are a rare find in Montreal’s green spaces. You can spot them on the edge of the Shrub Garden. You can also find a tremendous trio of majestic eastern cottonwoods (Populus deltoides), along the main path, facing the Rose Garden. Take the time to pay attention to a new plant or a new point of view in the garden, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
We kindly ask that you refrain from walking through plant beds and off of marked paths or into fenced areas. This extra care will ensure that specimen plants and wildlife habitats are well protected under the shelter of the snow. Keeping life safe will make for a thriving and beautiful start to the spring.
Bring Your Binoculars!
Our garden provides a rich habitat for many bird species. From curious beginners to avid birders, visitors are welcome to enjoy birdwatching at the garden. Eight feeding stations are distributed around the garden’s main path. During the winter months, you can encounter cheerful chickadees, cardinals, pileated woodpeckers, great blue herons, nuthatches and Coopers’ hawks, among other feathered friends.
Our horticulture team takes care of preparing and installing the bird feeders, making sure to add sunflower seeds, suet, nyjer and millet every week. Birds also make the most of our fruit trees and winter berries.
As you stroll along, you will likely encounter other creatures such as foxes, squirrels, geese and perhaps the odd feral cat. We invite you to revel in their beauty and character at a distance, allowing nature to flourish around you.
Our site provides for wildlife and we try to promote balance wherever possible. It is important that visitors abstain from feeding animals with food from home as this can disrupt the balance and lead unhealthy behaviours.
Bring Your Cross-country Skis Too!
Although our garden is located at the heart of the city, there is ample room to enjoy another cherished local winter activity - cross-country skiing! Our site includes approximately 3km of groomed cross-country ski trails. Moreover, you can coast next door into Parc de Maisonneuve to continue your ski along additional trails. Trails are groomed after enough new snow has fallen, so the best time to ski is a day or two after the last snowfall.
This activity offers an opportunity to savour the garden from another perspective, moving along under the canopies of trees and exploring new corners of our grounds.
We wish you a pleasant and restorative winter season, full of fresh air and new discoveries. Enjoy!