Centennial Park Conservatory

Happy March, everyone! I hope you all enjoyed my recent travel guides to Miami and Palm Beach (if you missed them, click here to read them all.)

Truth be told: as much as I’ve grown to love and appreciate the frosty beauty of an Ontario winter, by this time of year, I start to get a little antsy and dream about spring flowers and warmer temps – especially with all the snow we’ve been having lately. (I guess that’s why I spent the last two weeks revisiting my last trip to a warm and sunny climate!)

The good news? If you’re sick of winter and don’t happen to have a warm-weather vacation on the horizon anytime soon, there are little tropical escapes you can take right here in Ontario that don’t require a passport. One of my favourite local winter escapes happens to be the Centennial Park Conservatory!

Located in Etobicoke’s Centennial Park, the Centennial Park Conservatory consists of three connected greenhouses that are home to hundreds of different species of plants, from orchids to hibiscus to bromeliads. The main greenhouse houses 200 varieties of tropical plants, including palm trees and banana trees. The south greenhouse displays a variety of unusual cacti and succulents. There’s nothing like walking through a hot, cactus-filled greenhouse to zap your winter blues!

The north greenhouse is famous for its seasonal plant displays, which are rotated frequently: most notably, its Japanese chrysanthemum show in the fall, pointsettia show at Christmas, and spring show at Easter time. During our visit last February, the conservatory was already planting daffodils in preparation for their spring show.

Fish are some of my favourite animals, so if I go anywhere that has a koi pond…that’s where you’ll usually find me! I love the sculpture in this pond as well.

We also loved the mannequins that had been artfully styled with various flowers and succulents. They remind me of the equally creative displays at Fleurs De Villes!

The Centennial Park Conservatory has been providing educational and entertaining experiences for plant enthusiasts since 1970. The conservatory is operated by Toronto Parks, the same organization behind Allan Gardens (another one of my favourite local botanical gardens!) Admission to the conservatory is free, however donations are welcomed.

If you’re feeling up to it, after your trip to the conservatory you can partake in some fun outdoor activities in surrounding Centennial Park. They have one of the best sledding hills in Etobicoke – we sure have the weather for it right now!

Personally, I’m looking forward to returning to the conservatory this April to check out their spring show, featuring some of my favourite flowers: hyacinths, tulips, hydrangeas and the beautifully fragrant Easter lily. (I get one of these every year and the strong smell drives Tania crazy – but I just adore them!)

What are some of your favourite indoor activities to enjoy in the wintertime?

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