Montréal’s hidden gardens

© Château Ramezay - Historic Site and Museum of Montréal - Château Ramezay - Historic Site and Museu© Robert Jardin - Saint Joseph's Oratory of Mount Royal© Saint Joseph's Oratory of Mount Royal - Saint Joseph's Oratory of Mount Royal
© Maison Saint-Gabriel, Pierre Guzzo - Maison Saint-Gabriel, Museum and Historic Site / The Garden© Canadian Centre for Architecture, Alain Laforest - Garden, Canadian Centre for Architecture

© Château Ramezay - Historic Site and Museum of Montréal - Château Ramezay - Historic Site and Museu

November 16, 2016  With 19 large parks covering the island’s shores or in the metropolis proper, Montréal is definitely a green city. But aside from the some 2,000 hectares of green spaces, the city is also home to many gardens noteworthy not only for their beauty but for the multitude of species and varieties of trees, plants and flowers they harbour.

The garden of Saint Joseph’s Oratory is one of Montréal’s crowning jewels of vegetation. In addition to offering a breathtaking panorama of the city, the area is home to more than 900 trees (26 different species), 30 shrub varieties, 60 perennials and 20,000 annual flowering plants. Its verdant walkways, perfect places for relaxing or meditating, are bordered by statues depicting the Way of the Cross.

One of the city’s oldest farmhouses, the Maison Saint-Gabriel, is located in Pointe-Saint-Charles, a stone’s throw from the Old Port. Its Jardin de la Métairie, fashioned after its New France predecessor, includes a vegetable garden, an herb garden, fruit trees and rows of flowers, recreated in 17th-century style that take into account hybridization and the disappearance of some species. To get a real feel for the young colony of the times, every Sunday of the summer, guides in period costume treat you to a slice of daily life as it unfolded for the young King’s Wardens.

At the heart of Old Montréal’s cobblestone streets, Château Ramezay’s Governor’s Garden bears witness to the style and type of garden grown by Montréal’s 18th-century nobility. Although its size has shrunk from 4,200 to 750m2 over the years, the garden still contains an orchard, a vegetable patch as well as a pleasure garden adorned with a goat’s head fountain.