• By: Chloë Hayes

Celebrate Summer in the City With the Ottawa Garden Festival

ABOVE: The tropical greenhouse at Rideau Hall. (PHOTO: OLM STAFF)

The National Capital Region is filled with world-class museums, galleries, and first-class performance venues, but beautiful art lives beyond the walls of heritage buildings and historical sites. Along the pathways, in the parks, and throughout the city’s meticulously maintained green spaces, garden beds designed and planted to change with the seasons present gorgeous living canvases for all to enjoy.

This summer, from August 12-21, the Ottawa Garden Festival will showcase Ottawa-Gatineau’s natural and artistic beauty with a Garden Promenade – a showcase offering 75-plus unique garden experiences.

Sponsored by Scotts/Miracle-Gro, the festival's Garden Promenade includes the Rideau Canal bicycle and pedestrian pathways, where some of Ottawa’s most important landmarks can also be seen.

Special garden attractions, artistic installations, themed events, and tours are just some reasons to take part in the festival. The Ottawa Garden Festival initiative is led by Gardens Ottawa and supported by Landscape Ontario, the National Capital Commission, Tourism Outaouais, the City of Gatineau, and tourism partners from the hotel and restaurant industry.

Some of the Garden Promenade destinations include the Taiga Garden at the National Gallery of Canada, the International Peace Garden, the Commissioners Park Gardens, and various community gardens.

The promenade can be explored by bike, bus, or foot, and those who complete a bus or bike tour will receive a Year of the Garden 2022 pin. Tourists and locals alike can bicycle to the gardens with the help of Escape Tours and Rentals, who will be offering garden-themed self-guided tours and bike rentals. 

The Lady Dive Hop-on + Hop-Off double-decker bus will make stops at a number of the gardens on the Capital’s Garden Promenade. You can decide where to get off the bus and spend time in the garden.

For an independent adventure, check out the seven self-guided tours of Garden Promenade listed at www.gardenpromenade.ca, where you will find for each garden tour, a map, a written description of each tour, and a friendly and informative introductory video by Michel Gauthier, president of Gardens Ottawa.

Gauthier says, “Ottawa has always had a thriving garden culture, and the festival is a great opportunity for everyone to get out and enjoy all we have to offer. I can’t think of a better way to spend part of your August.”

Other special features of this year’s Ottawa Garden Festival include a specially crafted Botanica cocktail available at Tavern at the Gallery; a weekend of garden-themed activities at the Central Experimental Farm, including a performance of The Tempest by A Company of Fools, garden yoga sessions, and a sensory garden immersion at Fletcher Wildlife; creative gardening at Vincent Massey Park; the OHA Summer Flower & Edibles Show at City Hall; and much more.

Learn more at gardenpromenade.ca and Ottawa Garden Festival – Gardens Ottawa, a one-stop shop for finding gardening activities in Ottawa, exploring Canada’s garden destinations, quick access to Canadian gardening articles, and a gardening calendar of events in Ottawa.