The Garden Promenade bus tour in Ottawa/Gatineau is truly a unique and wonderful way to experience the beauty of the National Capital Region. With 50 gardens to explore, the region is definitely a contender for the title of Garden Capital of Canada.
The bus tour takes visitors through various city neighborhoods, including the prestigious Sussex Drive’s Rideau Hall, and passes by the colorful gardens of Parliament Hill, as well as many of the nation’s most renowned museums and art galleries. The tour also explores the outer reaches of Dows Lake and the ornamental gardens of the Central Experimental Farm.
One of the highlights of the tour is the charming gardens of Gatineau, including the unique MosaïCulture exhibition of living sculptures in Jacques Cartier Park, which runs until October 15, 2018.
In addition to the Garden Promenade bus tour, there are many other ways to explore the gardens along the route. Visitors can take a stroll through Simon’s at the Rideau Centre to access the mall’s rooftop garden or enjoy a meal at Nordstrom’s Bazille restaurant, which overlooks the garden.
The National Gallery is home to a recently restored courtyard garden, as well as a sunken garden, water garden, and Taiga garden, all designed by notable Canadian landscape architect Cornelia Oberlander.
Visitors to the region’s landmark museums will also be treated to some spectacular gardens. The Museum of Nature has recently installed the Landscapes of Canada, a collection of native plants representing the various eco-zones across the country, with a highlight being Bill Lishman’s dramatic stainless-steel Iceberg Sculpture.
The Zen Buddhist meditation garden at the Museum of History in Gatineau is a serene oasis, with stepping stones guiding visitors along a meditation pathway lined with trees of the boreal forest, undulating raked gravel, and rocks hewn from the Canadian Shield.
For those interested in exploring the gardens at their own pace, pick up a Garden Promenade pamphlet and plan a self-guided tour of the diverse gardens along the route. Alternatively, until September 1, visitors can book the Saturday morning Lee Valley Garden Promenade bus for a two-hour tour, with stops at three of the gardens along the promenade.
Regardless of how you choose to explore the gardens, the Garden Promenade is sure to be a memorable experience.