Go BIG or Go Home
What Happens When A Small-Town Family Visits The "World's Largest"... Whatever!

BIGGISH – World’s Second Largest Botanic Garden, Montréal, QC

Montreal Botanic Garden

The Exhibition Gardens

Hear that? It’s spring approaching. The daffodils have broken ground, and they’re a relief to see! Not to push things along too much, but it’s a good week to revisit our trip to the Montréal Botanic Garden. It’s not the world’s largest — that title belongs to the Royal Botanic Gardens (or Kew Gardens) in Great Britain – but it’s the world’s second largest botanic garden. Perfect for our “Biggish” category!

Where we went, and who was coerced into going:

We went to Montréal last summer, mainly because Matt had a business trip, and it’s only a five hour drive. This was the kids’ first international travel, and this small, bilingual city was the ideal destination; a perfect combination of fun and cultural immersion. While we were there, we risked our lives (not really) riding to the top of the world’s tallest inclined tower, and discovered the secrets of poutine in the world’s largest underground pedestrian network.

WHY did you go there, exactly?

I had my doubts that the kids would be jazzed about the Montréal Botanical Garden, with nothing remotely virtual, electronic, or 4-D to offer. We all enjoyed it though, mainly because we didn’t try to push our luck to see all 180 acres, 10 exhibition greenhouses and 30 outdoor gardens.

I must also point out that the weather was – surprisingly – perfect, and this further convinced us to spend the day outside.

Okay, what was so cool about it?

Within this immense garden are several smaller themed gardens; each more fascinating than the one before. The kids would tell you that their favorites involved water features – how surprised are you? Given the “all clear,” The Girl would have immersed herself in any one of the pools within the Aquatic Garden.

The Chinese Garden, surrounded by a bright blue koi pond, was also a hit, especially with its opulent walk-through pagoda and an exhibit of impossible-not-to-touch bonsai trees. (Me: “Don’t touch those. Please don’t touch them. See the sign that says “don’t touch” in both French AND English?! DON’T TOUCH!!”)


Chinese garden pagoda, with the Olympic Tower in the background. We went to the top of that!

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