755 Lawrence Ave E, Toronto, ON M3C 1P2
Phone: (416) 397-1340
The Toronto Botanical Gardens and Edwards Gardens are located at the southwest corner of Leslie St and Lawrence Ave. East. Most of you might know it as the location where you, or even your parents, took their wedding photos as the lush gardens have been open for over 50 years!
Upon arriving from the main entrance, you will see the stunning George and Kathy Dembroski Centre for Horticulture. This eco-friendly, glass pavilion houses a retail store, educational spaces and rooms that can be rented out for group events including indoor/outdoor weddings. The building is open everyday until 5 pm and I would recommend guests use the accessible washrooms located inside.
The Centre for Horticulture is accessed through wide sensor-automated doors and you will find the washrooms directly at the back. Each female and male washroom has a large 36 inch swinging door and contains one wheelchair accessible stall. There are automatic dryers and faucets with clearance space under all the sinks for a mobility device.
The Toronto Botanical Gardens lie behind and around the Centre for Horticulture, spanning four acres. The paved pathways are wide and level, however, there are some stair features with no railings and the alternative slopes are quite steep. The various benches to rest are approximately two meters away from the sidewalk so you will need to walk on the grass to access.
As you descend through the gardens you will notice a path that leads to the ravine below. I found the ravine path with its bridges extremely beautiful, but unfortunately I was only able to find one path that looped back to the parking lot that was close to being accessible. By this I mean there were no steps, no sharp slopes or old wooden bridges. There are no signs indicating the path I found so search for the big Wilket Creek Park sign and turn left to head back up to the parking lot.
Refreshments are available at the Garden Café, located just behind the Centre for Horticulture is open daily between 9 am and 4 pm from May to October.. The café is accessible through a side entrance from the patio. The entrance to the café is 32 inches wide and it is just large enough to make your order. Seating is available outside on a large patio with picnic tables. It is in this area where you will find a set of public washrooms with wheelchair accessible signage - beware! The automatic door opener is difficult to find, the turning radius to enter is very small and the stalls were very dark.
The Gardens are located in a quiet, residential area in the city. It is free and open year round. No pets are allowed. If taking the bus, you can access the 54A Lawrence East from the accessible Eglinton subway station. If driving, there is an enormous amount of parking at the Leslie St. entrance for guests and a large drop off/pick up space for Wheel-Trans users.
Overall, I was happy to visit this unique park in the city. Many of the paths were a lot steeper than I think they needed to be so please be cautious if traveling alone. I was surprised to discover that the Toronto Botanical Gardens have several seasonal activities for all ages and interest groups, including a free summer music series that I regret missing.
Please refer to their webpage for all the details: http://torontobotanicalgarden.ca/