Montreal Must-See -Gardens of Light at the Botanical Garden

September 12, 2019

canopy lit path at the Gardens of Light in Montreal Botanical Garden

Last Updated on September 12, 2019 by Candy Wafford

Love gardens? Love colorful lights? Combine the two and you have the Gardens of Light show at Montreal Botanical Garden.

I love to find lesser-known activities when visiting a city. A popular, yet not widely known, activity in Montreal is the Garden of Lights show. The light show was one of the highlights of our weekend in Montreal. And it rained the entire time we were there and we still loved it!

turtle and snake shaped Chinese lanterns in front of red lanterns at the Gardens of Light in Montreal Botanical Garden

Read on to learn more about this amazing show and why it should be on your Montreal itinerary.

Montreal’s Space for Life and Botanical Gardens

Space for Life in Montreal is a beautiful oasis dedicated to nature. It is made up of a Biodome, Insectarium, Botanical Garden and Planetarium with a focus on encouraging interaction with nature and science and a commitment to protecting the planet. As if that wasn’t enough to encourage you to attend this nature-filled wonderland, each year, Space for Life transforms spaces within the botanical garden into a delightful light show.

bird shaped Chinese lanterns at Gardens of Light in Montreal Botanical Garden

Gardens of Light

Known as Jardins de Lumiere in French, the Gardens of Light at the Montreal Botanical Garden has been wowing residents and tourists for twenty-seven years. The Garden of China, the Japanese Garden, and the First Nations Gaden are all illuminated for this annual event each autumn.

colorful Chinese lanterns at dusk on the pond at Gardens of Life at the Montreal Botanical Garden

Hundreds of colorful lanterns hang from the trees creating a magical canopy of light. You’ll feel as if you have stepped inside a storybook as you walk through the meandering paths. The lights not only create a magical scene but also illuminate the incredible gardens so that visitors can see the lush gardens of the Montreal Botanical Garden in the evening.

colorful Chinese lanterns hanging from trees at the Gardens of Light in Montreal Botanical Garden

The lanterns are designed in Montreal and crafted in China by local artisans. A new theme is chosen each year and new lanterns added. The intricate lanterns come to life in the shape of people, animals, birds, boats, and mythical creatures. The colors and details of the lights are stunning and each lantern is a piece of art. Instagrammable spots can be found throughout the gardens.

Gardens Included in the Light Show

Each garden tells a story about the culture it represents. The lights in the Garden of China highlight the country’s fishing history. where a gigantic fish appears with one head and ten bodies. But it will magically transform into a bird to escape the fisherman casting their lines in the lake.

Colorful mythical creature shaped Chinese lantern and other lanterns on the pond at the Gardens of Light in Montreal Botanical Garden

A sacred tree is spotlighted in The First Nations Garden. Feel the beat pulsating beneath your feet representing the heartbeat of Mother Earth. The drums and the lighting create a slightly creepy scene. Perfect for cool fall evenings. In addition, activities in this garden include Stories and legends of Aboriginal storytellers on Saturday nights.

boy fishing Chinese lantern at the Montreal Botanical Garden Gardens of Life 2019

You will find a meditative mood in the Japanese Garden. The lights here highlight the foliage in the garden and are more subtle than the colorful lights found in the Chinese Garden. It was raining during our visit so we walked through this portion of the garden at a pretty quickly. It is lovely and I wish we could have taken more time to enjoy and appreciate this garden. Musicians perform in the Japanese pavilion on Friday and Saturday evenings.

bird shaped Chinese lanterns at the Gardens of Light festival in Montreal

You can enter and see displays about each culture represented in the gardens. Also, interactive activities are offered throughout the exhibit and you can easily spend a couple of hours taking part in all of the things to see and do.

boy fishing Chinese Lantern at the Garden of Lights Montreal Botanical Garden

The Details

Gardens of Light at the Montreal Botanical Gardens 2019 runs from September 6 – October 31.

  • You can find the exact dates and times for the light show at Space for Life.
  • Access to the Botanical Garden for the entire day is included in your ticket.
  • Tickets can be purchased on-site, but this is a popular event and the number of tickets sold is limited to ensure traffic moves easily through the walkways. You are encouraged to buy your tickets online.
  • The exhibit takes place rain or shine. Dress appropriately!
  • Admission prices vary.
  • There are no exchanges or refunds.
  • Tickets are time-based from 6 pm to 8:30 pm Sunday – Thursday and 6 pm to 9:30 pm Fridays and Saturdays
  • You will not be allowed to enter the exhibit before or after the time of entry on your ticket.
  • Group bookings should be made for groups of 15 or more.
  • There is parking available on-site but parking is not guaranteed.
  • The Gardens can be reached by public transportation. The Pie-IX metro station is nearby and bus 185 and 139 can be used.
  • Strollers are not prohibited but it would be very difficult to navigate the pathways with a stroller. Instead, baby carriers are suggested.
  • The Montreal Botanical Garden website indicates that the gardens are universally accessible. But based on my visit, I recommend those with mobility issues visit when it is not raining and early in the evening when the number of people on the pathways may be fewer.
  • Tripods are not allowed on the course.
  • There are restaurants located on the property.
  • Restrooms are available.

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More about Candy Wafford

Candy Wafford is a US-based travel blogger and while she travels frequently for her job, she is happiest when traveling for pleasure. Preferably strolling along a cobblestoned street with an ice cream cone in her hand.

    1. I love gardens and I love lights, so it would be a great place for me to visit. I will keep in mind for my future travels. Thanks for sharing.

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