Toronto is not only the city with the largest population in Canada (2.7 million people), but it is the 4th largest city in North America, after Mexico City, New York, and Los Angeles. Greater Toronto has 7 million people. It sits along the north edge of Lake Ontario, so for Canada it is in the far south. Lake effects from the Great Lakes keep Toronto's climate mild, moist and unpredictable.
For me it is always a botanic tour, so here is a brief look at Toronto's plants.
Of course there are plantless landscapes
but I also saw many parks.
|Queen's Park, Toronto|
Both public and private property had bright flower beds
The tour highlighted colorful neighborhoods. The Garden Car in Kensington Market is an institution--and a statement about cities, cars and plants. link
Here, in the same area, a dumpster has been turned into a garden--note the weeds that have been pulled out but not yet disposed of. Again, nontraditional greening of a city.
Allan Garden is a large green space with a large (16,000 square foot) well-maintained conservatory filled with tropical plants. More than 100 years old, it is open--just walk in!-- every day.
|A view of the Allan Gardens Conservatory|
I visited in July. Doors stood open and black squirrels hid among the ferns inside the building. It was hot under the glass. In Toronto's snowy winter, it must be a terrific refuge.
|Orchids and ferns in the Conservatory|
|Ontario natives, Allan Gardens|
Ontario has beautiful native trees as well. They are uncommon or absent from the native forests of Colorado, so I was delighted to see them. Since I grew up in central New York State where the plants are similar, they are favorites of mine.
Here are paper birch (Betula papyrifera)
eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis)
and American linden (Tilia americana)
to name three lovely natives of eastern North American forests.
Of course not all native trees can survive in a big city and conversely some are not good city trees because they warp sidewalks, fling branches in a windstorm or grow too big. But as a botanical tourist, these eastern trees and the little forest patches within easy reach of Toronto were a delight.
I greatly enjoyed the whimsey of fantastic animals on this lawn
Here's the "dreadful" field bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis) climbing a fence and making art
The tour featured Toronto history and government--and yes, I enjoyed those--but the plants were really cool too.
Comments and corrections welcome
Kathy Keeler, A Wandering BotanistJoin me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AWanderingBotanist
The Dreadful Field Bindweed link Plant Confusion--Hemlock, Both Umbels and Conifers link
Visiting Sweden--A Wandering Botanist in Stockholm link