Visit the Centennial Park Conservatory

••• Marilyn Campbell

The Centennial Park Conservatory is an indoor botanical garden located in Etobicoke, within Centennial Park, one of Toronto's largest green spaces. Like the Allan Gardens Conservatory in downtown Toronto, the Centennial Park Conservatory is open year-round and is always free to visit. Hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

As just one of the many things to do inside Centennial Park, a visit to the conservatory can be a relaxing break in the middle of a longer outing, or can be enjoyed on its own as one of Toronto's lesser-known treasures.

It's particularly helpful to keep the Centennial Park Conservatory in mind as a way to expose yourself and your family to a bit of nature on rainy days or when you're in the throes of the winter blahs.

What You'll See

The Centennial Park Conservatory consists of three greenhouses with an area of 12,000 square feet and is home to plants which originate from around the world. In the main greenhouse  you'll discover over 200 different varieties of tropical plants that bloom year–round. You're likely to spot palms, hibiscus, orchids and bromeliads, as well as fruit trees such as banana and papaya.

Look for the impressive rubber plant native to India, a spiky floss-silk tree from Brazil, a spear-snake plant from Africa, or the ram's horn from the Pacific Islands, among so many others. Some blooming flowers and plants at the conservatory are changed seasonally, while the cacti are at the ready year-round.

Beyond the glass houses full of plants, the Centennial Park Conservatory also has indoor and outdoor ponds with fish and turtles, and is home to several birds. There are also plenty of nice places to sit and enjoy the plants, stone waterfalls and general ambiance.

Special Events:
Every December the Centennial Park Conservatory hosts a special show to celebrate Christmas in Toronto.

It's well worth a special trip to see the entire conservatory decorated for the festive season and filled with thousands of flowering plants (including more than 30 varieties of poinsettia). 

There are also special flower shows for Easter, spring, summer and fall, all of which showcase different varieties of plants and flowers. 

For information on these and other events such as plant sales, call the conservatory at the number listed below.

Centennial Park Conservatory Hours of Operation

The Centennial Park Conservatory is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week.

Permits are available from the City of Toronto to use the conservatory for wedding ceremonies and photography, and such occasions may temporarily limit access to some parts of the facility or outdoor areas.

For more information, call the Centennial Park Conservatory at 416-394-8543.

Location

The Centennial Park Conservatory is located at 151 Elmcrest Road, inside Centennial Park. Elmcrest Road runs north off of Rathburn Road, west of Renforth Drive. Free parking is available at the site.

By TTC:
The 48 Rathburn bus stops at the corner of Rathburn and Elmcrest, then it is a short walk up Elmcrest to the conservatory. The 48 Rathburn bus runs between Royal York station on the Bloor-Danforth subway line and Mill Road/Centennial Park Blvd.

You can also transfer onto the 48 from the 37 Islington, 45 Kipling, 46 Martin Grove, 73 Royal York, 111 East Mall, or 112 West Mall buses.
• See the TTC website for route details and schedules.

By Bike:
There are several options in the area for cyclists. Between Bloor and Rathburn there's the Renforth bike lanes or a path running along the creek beginning at Neilson Park. You can also use the number 22 Eglinton bike trail to access the north end of Centennial Park, then ride south through the park to the conservatory. There are a few bikes racks in front of the conservatory.
• Check the City of Toronto Cycling Map for route details.

Updated by Jessica Padykula