19 Horticultural Ave, Toronto, ON M5A 2P2
Call: (416) 392-7288
You may be as surprised as I was to learn that in the centre of downtown Toronto lies a 100 year old botanical garden open year round… and it’s free! Allan Gardens’ beautiful flora-filled greenhouses cover over 16,000 square feet and feature plants and flowers from all over the world. For a destination as unique as this it’s great to see that it has managed to achieve a certain level of accessibility.
The conservatory is part of a large park with several pathways leading up to the entrance. There are two doorways at the front of the structure with the one on the left having automatic features that open the 40 inch wide doors.There is also an entrance from the parking lot off of Horticulture Avenue with an automatic opener and a ramp leading up to the door. Each entrance will take you to a different greenhouse but you can see the entirety of the space either way.
The width and floor surface of the interior pathways vary throughout the gardens. Although most mobility devices can fit along the paths, passing without potentially destroying the foliage could prove difficult. Care and patience would definitely need to be employed.
Flooring on ramps is concrete, whereas the winding pathways are textured tile. The pathway in the greenhouse with the bridge and turtles is 32 inches, whereas the tropical flower greenhouse has 30 inch pathways. The largest, and widest room, is where the cacti are grown but caution - it is VERY hot. There are automatic door openers for each different greenhouse.
Several wide ramps, complete with railings, lead into different rooms. However, the observed slope is not 1:12. Exact measurements were not taken but the gradient was observably steep as can be seen in the photos. For resting, there are several benches situated in each greenhouse donated by different families and organizations.
Allan Gardens is located on the south side of Carlton Street between Jarvis and Sherbourne. You can get to the gardens by TTC by taking Line 1 to Queen’s Park station and heading eastbound on the 64 Main Street bus to Sherbourne Street. As mentioned there is also a small, free parking lot that you can access from Gerrard Street East or Horticulture Avenue.
For more information on the plant collection and history of Allen Gardens, please visit the City of Toronto website:
Let us know if you visit! Was the experience as barrier-free as you would have liked? Tell us all about it in the comments