The Red Embers installation is on display in Allan Gardens Park until October 4, 2019.

This indoor botanical garden features six greenhouses:

  • 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

Washrooms are available in the conservatory.

The park outside offers a Dog Off-Leash Area, a drinking fountain and a playground.

A banner from the Red Embers installation hanging in front of the Allan Gardens Conservatory. The flag is red and has a black heart on it. It is hung on charred-black gates.
A banner from the Red Embers installation hanging in front of the Allan Gardens Conservatory

The banners were designed by 15 Indigenous women artists and dedicated to Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) and float from 13 tall charred-black gates throughout Allan Gardens Park.

Two of the banners face the Victorian-era glass Palm House of the Conservatory, while the others straddle the major pathways of the park, allowing visitors to admire them from all directions and walk below them.

The local eastern cedar, hand-peeled structures measure about 5.5m high (approximately 18 feet high) with vertical posts that cross at the top, with information plaques wrapped near the base. Framing the red banners in black is a metaphor of the wood holding its structural integrity against flames. The number of installations follows the cycle of the 13 Grandmother Moons within the Lunar System.

The installation will remain in Allan Gardens Park until October 4, 2019.

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The Friends of Allan Gardens is a non-profit group working with the City and dedicated to preserving and enhancing Allan Gardens. You can support the Friends by donating through the Toronto Parks and Trees Foundation. All donations over $10 receive a charitable tax receipt.

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.