Gardening

100 Garden Moments of Canada

Canada’s Fabulous Garden History in a Nutshell!

2022 is the Year of the Garden in Canada and for that occasion, its organizers have chosen to recognize 100 Garden Moments of Canada that have contributed to the development of garden culture in Canada since 1867.

Produced under the direction of the Canadian Historical Horticultural Centre, and with the support of Know History, this list will serve as the basis for the creation of the Canada’s Garden Hall of Fame, an important educational legacy of the Year of the Garden 2022.

Ready, Set, Discover!

1867–1900

Bandstand and flower bed at Halifax Public Garden.
Even 155 years after its founding, Halifax Public Garden is still considered today the most authentic Victorian public park in Canada. Photo: ramunas, depositphotos
  • 1867: Halifax Public Garden opens in Nova Scotia.
  • 1868: Catharine Parr Traill publishes Canadian Wild Flowers (book) with illustrations by Agnes Dunbar Fitzgibbon.
  • 1872: Delos White Beadle publishes the first gardening book in Canada.
  • 1873: 19th-century cemetery gardens are a trend.
  • 1874: Commission given to Fredrick Law Olmsted to design Mount Royal Park, Montréal, Québec.
  • 1874: Founding of the Ontario Agricultural College in Toronto; it later moves to Guelph, Ontario.
  • 1878: The Fruit Growers’ Association of Ontario, St. Catharines, Ontario publishes the first Canadian Horticulturist magazine.
  • 1879: Completion of the gardens in front of Parliament Buildings completed; design by landscape artist Calvert Vaux, Ottawa, Ontario.
  • 1879: Allan Gardens opens as the Toronto Horticultural Society Gardens, Toronto, Ontario.
  • 1883: Québec celebrates Canada’s first Arbor Day.
  • 1886: Government of Canada enacts the Experimental Farms Act, establishing the Central Experimental Farm including arboretum and gardens, Ottawa, Ontario.
  • 1886: Alexandre Dupuy founds Maison Dupuy & Ferguson, the first seed business in Québec, at Place Jacques Cartier, Montréal, Québec.

1900–1910

Sunken garden at Butchart Gardens.
Butchart Gardens, founded in 1904, is today the most visited garden in Canada, with more than 1 millions visitors annually in non-COVID years. Photo: phil_bird, depositphotos
  • 1901: Completion of the gardens at Fulford Place, designed by Olmsted Brothers. Estate later designated National Historic Site of Canada, Brockville, Ontario.
  • 1901: Nova Scotia proclaims the mayflower (Epigaea repens) as its provincial flower, a first in Canada
  • 1902: Annie Jack publishes The Canadian Garden: A Pocket Help for the Amateur, becoming the first Canadian woman to write a gardening book.
  • 1903: William Lyon Mackenzie King starts beautifying his estate, now known as the Mackenzie King Estate Gardens, Gatineau, Québec.
  • 1904: Jennie Butchart starts Butchart Gardens, Victoria, British Columbia.
  • 1906: Founding of the Ontario Horticultural Association.
  • 1907: Canadian Pacific Railroad formalizes a program for railway gardens at its stations, following the informal creation of many gardens in the 1890s.
  • 1908: Establishment of the National Battlefields Parks, home of the Jeanne-d’Arc Garden, as a national park, Québec City, Québec.
  • 1908: Royal Roads University Botanical Gardens opens, Victoria, British Columbia.
  • 1909: Assiniboine Park opens with several formal gardens, Winnipeg, Manitoba.

1910–1920

Saskatchewan’s parliament buildings are surrounded by beautiful gardens.
Saskatchewan’s parliament buildings are still surrounded by beautiful gardens. Photo: wascana.ca
  • 1911: Creation of the Government House Gardens, Victoria, British Columbia.
  • 1913: Howard and Lorrie Dunington-Grubb found Sheridan Nurseries, Sheridan, Ontario.
  • 1913: The City of Vancouver, British Columbia adds landscaped gardens to Stanley Park.
  • 1913: Opening of Reader Rock Garden, a National Historic Site, Calgary, Alberta.
  • 1913: Founding of the grounds and gardens at Government House and Saskatchewan’s Parliament Buildings in Regina, Saskatchewan. Designed by Thomas Mawson, they epitomize the Edwardian trends of the City Beautiful Movement, the Garden City Movement, and the École des Beaux-Arts of Paris.
  • 1913: Founding of the Rose Society of Ontario, later the Canadian Rose Society, in Toronto; .
  • 1915: Foundation of Morden Experimental Farm (Research Centre, site of many plant breeding programs, Morden, Manitoba.
  • 1916: University of British Columbia. Botanical Garden opens, Vancouver, British Columbia.
  • 1919: Isabella Preston, first professional woman plant hybridizer in Canada, breeds the ‘George C. Creelman’ lily at Ontario Agricultural College, Guelph, Ontario.

1920–1930

Blue poppies, floral emblem of Reford Gardens in eastern Québec.
The blue poppy, (Meconopsis betonicifolia), floral emblem of Reford Gardens in eastern Québec.. Photo: David Stanley, Flickr
  • 1922: Canadian Horticultural Council forms as a national trade association.
  • 1922: The Eastern Canada Nurserymen’s Association forms; becoming the Canadian Nursery Trades Association in 1968 and the Canadian Nursery Landscape Association in 1998.
  • 1925: Manitoba Hardy Plant Nursery opens—and Frank Leith Skinner begins serious plant hybridization, eventually introducing 248 hybrids of ornamental and fruit species, Dropmore, Manitoba.
  • 1926:Elsie Reford starts Reford Gardens, Grand-Métis, Québec.

1930–1940

Bonsai greenhouse at the Montréal Botanical Garden
Bonsai greenhouse at the Montréal Botanical Garden. Photo: King of Hearts, Wikipedia Commons
  • 1931: The Montréal Botanical Garden opens to the public, Montréal, Québec.
  • 1932: Opening of the International Peace Garden, Boissevain, Manitoba.
  • 1932: The Rock Garden opens to the public. It’s the first part of Royal Botanical Gardens, Hamilton, Ontario.
  • 1934: Formation of the Canadian Association of Landscape Architects & Town Planners, today known as the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects, forms with nine founding members.
  • 1935: Publication of Brother Marie-Victorin’s La Flore Laurentienne, Montréal, Québec.
  • 1936: Niagara Parks School for Apprentice Gardeners, forerunner of the Niagara Parks Botanical Garden and School of Horticulture, opens, Niagara Falls, Ontario.

1940–1950

  • 1943: Founding of the British Columbia Council of Garden Clubs.
  • 1944: Started in WWI, Victory Gardens peak in WWII when more than 200,000 Victory Gardens across Canada producing 57,000 tonnes of vegetables.

1950–1960

Canadian Tulip Festival in front of Canadas's parliament buildings.
Canadian Tulip Festival in front of Canadas’s parliament buildings. Photo: chiyacat, depositphotos
  • 1950: Milner Gardens and Woodland opens, Qualicum Beach, British Columbia.
  • 1953: Founding of the Canadian Tulip Festival, Ottawa, Ontario.
  • 1954: Founding of Odell Park and Arboretum, Fredericton, New Brunswick.
  • 1956: Launch of Prairie Garden magazine, Winnipeg, Manitoba.
  • 1959: The University of Alberta Botanic Garden opens to the public under the name Devonian Botanic Garden, Edmonton, Alberta.

1960–1970

‘Martin Frobisher’ rose with double pink flowers.
The first rose of the extra-hardy Explorer shrub rose series: Rosa ‘Martin Frobisher’, Photo: davidaustinroses.com
  • 1960: Japanese landscape architect Kannosuke Mori designs the Nitobe Memorial Garden which opens at the University of British Columbia , Vancouver, British Columbia.
  • 1964: University of Guelph’s Bachelor of Landscape Architecture begins as Canada’s first university program in landscape architecture, Guelph, Ontario.
  • 1965: Founding of the Canadian Botanical Association at a meeting at Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario.
  • 1967: Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden opens, Lethbridge, Alberta.
  • 1967: Founding of Simon Fraser University Arboretum, Burnaby, British Columbia.
  • 1967: Founding of the Canadian Prairie Lily Society.
  • 1968: Felicitas Svejda of the Central Experimental Farm, Ottawa, Ontario introduces the first Explorer Rose (Rosa ‘Martin Frobisher’) to commercial horticulture.
  • 1969: Bloedel Floral Conservatory opens, Vancouver, British Columbia.

1970–1980

Roger Van den Hende Botanical Garden in Québec CIty
Roger Van den Hende Botanical Garden in Québec CIty. Photo: fsaa.ulaval.ca
  • 1970: Establishment of the Arboretum at University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario.
  • 1970: Publishing of Chatelaine’s Gardening Book, one of Canada’s first mass how-to-garden books.
  • 1975: VanDusen Botanical Garden opens to the public, Vancouver, British Columbia.
  • 1975: Founding of Les Jardins de Quatre-Vents by Francis Cabot, La Malbaie, Québec.
  • 1976: Establishment of the Muttart Conservatory, Edmonton, Alberta.
  • 1977: Founding of the Memorial University of Newfoundland Botanic Garden, originally Oxen Pond Botanic Garden, St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador.
  • 1978: Launche of the Fédération des sociétés d’horticulture et d’écologie du Québec.
  • 1978: Roger-Van den Hende Botanical Garden opens in Québec City, Québec.
  • 1979: The Dunington-Grubb Foundation and Royal Botanical Gardens found the Centre for Canadian Historical Horticultural Studies, Burlington, Ontario.

1980–1990

Indoor show at the 1980 Floralies Internationales.
Indoor show at the 1980 Floralies Internationales. Photo: ville.montreal.qc.ca
  • 1980: Cullen Gardens and Miniature Village opens, Whitby, Ontario.
  • 1980: Floralies Internationales, Canada’s first international horticultural exhibition, Montréal, Québec.
  • 1981: Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens opens, Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia.
  • 1981: Founding of the Canadian Orchid Society.
  • 1981: Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden opens, Vancouver, British Columbia.
  • 1983: Rhododendron Garden openes (renamed the Brueckner Gardens in 2008 to honour master rhododendron hybridizer Dr. Joseph Brueckner), Mississauga, Ontario.
  • 1985: Founding of the Canadian Wildflower Society. This conicides with publication of the first issue of Society’s WILDFLOWER magazine.
  • 1985: Inauguration of Parc Marie-Victorin, Kingsey Falls, Québec.
  • 1985: Foundation of Canada’s Master Gardeners program.
  • 1987: Founding of the Canadian Horticultural Therapy Association to promote gardening as a way of improving human well-being and mental health
  • 1988: Canadian Gardener television program begins on CBCTV.

1990–2000

Kingsbrae Gardens,
Kingsbrae Gardens,. Photo: Andre? Gallant, kingsbraegarden.com
  • 1990: Urban Wild Gardens become a trend .
  • 1991: Launch of Fleurs, Plantes, et Jardins magazine.
  • 1991: Founding of the David Douglas Botanical Garden Society to develop the garden in partnership with the University of Northern British Columbia, Prince George, British Columbia.
  • 1992: Launch of the Villes et villages fleuris, a garden competition that goes under the name today Les Fleurons du Québec.
  • 1993: New Brunswick Botanical Garden opens, Edmundston, New Brunswick.
  • 1995: Communities in Bloom holds its first Canada-wide competition featuring entries from 29 municipalities.
  • 1995: Cornelia Oberlander designs Vancouver’s first public rooftop garden dby for the Vancouver Public Library Central Branch, British Columbia.
  • 1996: A Canadian court rules that “natural gardens” are constitutionally protected freedom of expression in the Sandy Bell case.
  • 1996: Creation of the Canada Blooms garden show by Landscape Ontario and The Garden Club of Toronto, Ontario
  • 1996: Jardin Daniel A. Seguin opens, St. Hyacinthe, Québec
  • 1997: Founding of the Canadian Hemerocallis (Daylilies) Society.
  • 1998: Launch of the Canadian Peony Society.
  • 1998: Founding of Fanshawe College Botanical Gardens, London, Ontario.
  • 1998: Kingsbrae Garden, created by Lucinda Flemer, opens, St. Andrews by-the-Sea, New Brunswick.
  • 1999: Yo-Yo Ma Music Garden awarded to Toronto, Ontario.

2000–2022

Mother Earth sculpture at Mosaïcultures Internationales.
Mosaïcultures Internationales. Photo: Matias Garabedian, Wikimedia Commons
  • 2000: Founding of Groundswell Community Greenhouse and Gardens as the Columbia Valley Botanical Gardens, East Kootenays, British Columbia.
  • 2000: Recreation of the historic Governor’s Garden at the Chateau Ramezay, residence of 18th Century Governor Claude de Ramezay, Montréal, Québec.
  • 2000: Inaugural Mosaïcultures Internationales, Montréal, Québec
  • 2000: Olds College Botanic Garden opens, Olds, Alberta.
  • 2002: Harriette Irving Botanical Garden opens to the public, Acadia University, Wolfville, Nova Scotia.
  • 2003: Formal establishment of the Toronto Botanical Garden, Toronto, Ontario.
  • 2007: The xwc?ic??s?m Garden (Indigenous Health Research and Education Garden) begins operation, University of British Columbia Farm, Vancouver, British Columbia.
  • 2017: The Garden Promenade officially opens, including 75 gardens across the National Capital Region, to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of Confederation, Ottawa, Ontario.
  • 2020: Pandemic Gardening emerges during COVID-19 Pandemic.

For more info—info@gardencouncil.ca

4 comments on “100 Garden Moments of Canada

  1. Thank-you for this. We don’t often realize what a rich gardening history our country has. Like most of our Canadian achievements we don’t tend to ‘toot our own horns’. A proud gardening heritage. I would add to the list (101 moments) the inception of the Calgary Horticultural Society in 1908. Still going strong and the largest (I think) horticultural society in Canada.

  2. Rebecca Knight

    Nice list – but the breeding program at Morden Man was overlooked!

  3. Christine Lemieux

    So interesting to see the history laid out like this!

  4. aliceest65

    Breath taking. I only wish I could do my bushes and flower gardens like this. Thanks for sharing.

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