James Gardens in Toronto, Canada
In August 2019, my sister Lodi visited me and my other sister Lena. It was her second visit to Canada. She loved Canada and Canadians. We were expecting her to visit us this summer of 2020, but sorry to say she could not leave Lebanon due to the global health crisis and the ensuing travel ban.
As far back as I can remember, Lodi felt chilly all the time. Even when I was perspiring and suffering from the heat, she wore a jacket. After her second visit to Canada in the summer and her daily walks in Etobicoke, she ditched the jacket and surprised us by looking very summer-like.
My two sisters and I went for a walk this past summer to James Gardens. The three of us love nature and enjoy walking.
James Gardens is a public botanical garden in the Etobicoke neighborhood of Toronto in Canada along the Humber River. It covers about 21 acres of hills, valley, and forest beside the Humber River, south of Edenbridge Drive in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).
A fabulous place, it has broad lawns, lots and lots of flower beds, rock gardens, nature trails, three large and four small ponds fed by a spring and connected by a stream, and a lawn bowling court.
Every year, thousands of flowers and more than 75,000 tulips are planted in the flowerbeds. Their shapes and materials vary in the rock gardens and under the well-pruned trees and shrubberies. It sees tens of thousands of visitors each year. Lots of weddings and receptions take place there.
It is called James Gardens because it was the estate of Mr. and Mrs. Fred T. James. In 1908, Fred James bought the property from his wife's parents and the adjacent land from the Home Smith Company[i]. In 1995, The Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto bought the park and gave the responsibility of controlling it to its Parks Department.
A Walk in Nature
We walked along the banks of the Humber River, then spent some time in the marvelous flower gardens that run up the hill from the parking lot. A stream that goes downhill culminates in a large pool at the bottom where ducks swim.
Everywhere we looked, we saw plants that grow by themselves, planted for decorative effect. It is a quiet place notwithstanding numerous visitors and nature lovers. This must be due to its vastness.
What I loved most, was the variety of trees, large and small.
The paths along the river are paved and are split into bicycle and walking paths.
At one point, we realized that a couple in front of us was walking fast to be alone in some corner. As we were walking behind them, we were ruining their plan. Lena realized it first; it took me time to realize it. We changed our path as soon as we realized that we were spoiling their arrangement.
On another occasion, we ventured on a trail that led us into a quiet forest of tall pine trees. We crossed the river on a pedestrian bridge where I took a picture of Lodi. We had heard that sometimes you can see a deer, but we only saw ducks.
Lodi could not stop smiling. She loves silence and quietude and found the forest a great place to pray and reflect. You see, Lodi is a devout catholic who attends mass every day and prays the rosary.
The gardens are favored by wedding photographers and are booked well in advance. The City of Toronto charges a fee to those who want to use the venue for wedding pictures. Once, I went alone on a Saturday but had to leave as soon as I got there because of the number of wedding parties following one another in a quick succession.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Liliane Najm