Allan Gardens Conservatory
Hours of operation: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., 365 days/year
Ward 27, Toronto & East York
19 Horticultural Avenue
TTC: Accessible by public transit from College subway station. Take the College streetcar 506 east on Carlton, or from Sherbourne station, take the Sherbourne bus 95 south.
Two Tropical Houses feature a wide variety of interesting plants including orchids, bromeliads, begonia and gesneriads
The Cool Temperate House features Camellias, Jasmine and plants from Australia and the Mediterranean.
The Palm House dome shelters a thriving collection of varied palms, bananas and tropical vines with drifts of brilliantly coloured seasonal plants.
The Tropical Landscape House offers lush exotics such as cycads, gingers, hibiscus and a green jade vine.
The Arid House is home to a large display of unusual cacti and succulents including collections of agave, opuntia, haworthia and aloe.
Allan Gardens features a Dog Off-Leash Area, a drinking fountain, parking lot and a playground, featuring open play opportunities for all ages, a water tap and sand play area, and incorporating natural materials such as fieldstone boulders and log seating. The Conservatory has washrooms.
The Conservatory dates back to 1858 when prominent local politician George Allan offered the Toronto Horticultural Society a five-acre parcel of land to develop a garden. In 1864, the City of Toronto purchased the surrounding lands from Mr Allan, which was then released to the Horticultural Society on the condition that the grounds be publicly accessible and free of charge.
In 1879 the Society opened a new Horticultural Pavilion which was in constant demand for promenade concerts, gala balls, conventions and flower shows. In 1894 the City replaced the old conservatory with a more spacious one, but a disastrous fire on June 6, 1902, destroyed the Horticultural Pavilion and parts of the new conservatory. City architect Robert McCallum designed its replacement, the classically proportioned domed Palm House which opened in 1910 and stands on the site today. The Conservatory grew to almost 13 acres in size and added two new display greenhouses in the 1920’s. In 1957, it constructed additional greenhouse wings to expand conservatory display space and reconstructed the adjacent garden areas.
The latest addition to the site is the Children’s Conservatory, which opened in 2004. The University of Toronto Botany Department donated the historic greenhouse (built in 1932), moved it from its original location and attached to the existing conservatory at Allan Gardens. The Children’s Conservatory is closed to the public but offers horticultural programs for children.