Welcome to Autumn in this most capital garden! When Canada glows with red, yellow and orange, Canadensis – The Garden of Canada/Le Jardin du Canada beckons you to slow down and explore the site of your future botanical garden centred in Ottawa.

Autumn was a chance to enjoy Canadensis as a four-season garden site. Where have you gone lately to kick the leaves and breathe in the power of nature? Or enjoy a horse-drawn hayride; or add a plant to next year’s garden?  On October 2nd, children and families were learning together at Hay Day. All afternoon, fall splendour, along with life-giving rain, were the perfect backdrop for raising awareness of this unique garden on the horizon. Hay Day was a harbinger of what’s soon to come.

Canadensis is a family-friendly garden. Consider that one of the unique, future spaces of Canadensis is Pl-eh! Created for children to learn through play, this key garden attraction will include familiar symbols of Canada from its culture, native plants, and iconic wildlife. Water play – like the rain on Hay Day – will raise awareness of its critical role in our landscape and concerns we have over climate change.  In winter, frozen water activities will complement the Rideau Canal Skateway with ice slides and pond skating.

The younger generations today are making a difference in their communities. Critical learning focused on a changing world will enhance the environmental knowledge needed to be true global citizens. Those who visit and explore here may grow to propose innovative solutions for the challenges facing us tomorrow.

Hay Day was an example of experiential learning at Canadensis. Each season teaches us in its own unique way. For instance, the autumn-coloured leaf of the Maple or Acer tree is one of the nation’s key symbols. Over ten native species of maple grow in Canada, and the Sugar Maple, Acer saccharum, is the Canadian national tree.

Hay Day participants were able to purchase plants used in a garden feature. The critical cycle of plant life is dependant on successful pollination, and those botanical acquisitions from the Canadensis Bee Haven garden are perfect for attracting bees.

A highlight was hearing what this sprawling space will look like as the future Garden comes to fruition. Visitors had a chance to learn from one of those closest to the project. Walking on the site with Gerald Lajeunesse, the Chair of the Canadensis Botanical Garden Society (CBGS,) gave you a chance to learn more about the vision for the site and how to become a member of Canadensis.

On Hay Day you also had a chance to learn how the green world can provide a life-affirming hiatus from the daily hustle and bustle. Spearheaded by Forest Therapy Ottawa, two nature walks were scheduled, but demand found organizers quickly adding a third.

The closing event of this Autumn day – or Tagwàgi in the Algonquin Anishinabeg language – showed that understanding nature means applying a diversity of experience. You had a chance to “Feel the Heartbeat” of nature from the Ottawa-based organization, Indigenous Experiences.. It was an introduction to the First Nations Landscape that will be represented on the future site guided by the involvement of indigenous voices.

Canadensis welcomes you all year round. Why not join us as a member, volunteer or donor.  We might have winter in our sights now but remember you can always walk this 34-acre site along the Prince of Wales Drive, adjacent to the Hartwell Locks of the Rideau Canal in Ottawa. CanadensisThe Garden of Canada/Le Jardin du Canada – will be your national botanic garden centred in Ottawa.


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