Allan Gardens Conservatory

Established in 1858 in the downtown area of Toronto (a 10 minute walk east along Carlton Street from College Subway Station, 10 minutes south-west of Fuel Plus Cafe/snack bar and 15 minutes walk north from Ryerson Image Centre), Allan Gardens is a public botanical garden and features six greenhouses with permanent plant collection (sub-tropical garden, Palm House and cacti) and seasonal plants.

It’s free to visit and open between 10am and 5pm every day.  It’s a real treat to be there in winter as it’s always warm inside (probably not a feature to pause over right now but you’ll appreciate it when you spend a few hours trying to take photos in a regular Toronto minus-10 winter!). The humid heat does mean, however, that your camera will almost certainly steam up the moment it passes from cold outer air to warm inner (as you can see in some of the photos below, though, you can make this work to your advantage and get a nice, natural soft focus effect).

There are a few staff there but they keep to themselves; go during a weekday and it’s likely you’ll have the place to yourself. No crowds, no noise, no money involved and a great location for photography whatever the weather = luxury!

It’s worth noting that the surrounding parkland is fine in daylight but not after dark as it’s not that well lit and it’s a popular hangout for the homeless. There’s not a lot more to say about the gardens, except to say that we love the place and we highly recommend you pay it a visit. Now we’ll let the photos do the talking.

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