Off The Promenade Gardens Self-Guided Tour

A. Mackenzie King Estate Gardens

Address:  MacKenzie King Rd, Chelsea, QC J9B 1H7

Services for Visitors: Parking $ – Bicycle Racks – Wheelchair Accessible – Child-Friendly – Café and Eating Areas

Description: The historic site known as Mackenzie King Estate includes 231 hectares of landscaped green space south of Kingsmere Lake in the heart of magnificent Gatineau Park.

For nearly fifty years, the Estate served as the summer residence of Mackenzie King, Canada’s tenth and longest-serving Prime Minister. King, who served as Prime Minister from 1921-1926, 1926-1930, and 1935-1948, during a period of profound change in Canada, was one of Canada’s most influential figures. When he died in 1950, he bequeathed his beloved estate to the people of Canada. It was around this property that the Government of Canada, through the National Capital Commission, established what we now know as Gatineau Park. Today, visitors from far and wide come to the Mackenzie King Estate to admire the restored chalets of Kingswood – which includes Moorside. It was at Moorside that King laid out his splendid flower gardens and his picturesque collection of stone ruins. It was also here that he entertained such dignitaries as Sir Winston Churchill, Yousuf Karsh, and Charles Lindbergh. Visitors to both Kingswood and Moorside will also enjoy the landscaped grounds, wooded trails, and waterfalls.

B. Beechwood Cemetery Gardens

Address: 280 Beechwood Ave, Ottawa, ON K1L 8A6

Services for Visitors:  Parking – Washrooms – Wheelchair Accessible

Description: Beechwood Cemetery is the National Cemetery of Canada. It is the final resting place for over 75,000 Canadians from all walks of life, such as important politicians like Governor General Ramon Hnatyshyn and Prime Minister Sir Robert Borden, Canadian Forces Veterans, War Dead, members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and men and women who have made a mark on Canadian history. In addition to being Canada’s National Cemetery, it is also the National Military Cemetery of Canada and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police National Memorial Cemetery.

The Beechwood Cemetery has extensive gardens throughout its one hundred and sixty-acre property. From spring to fall, you will find the many trees and garden beds bursting with colours. There are many varieties of crab apples, magnolias, and lilacs, as well as peonies, irises, and spring bulbs. Every year, there are about thirty-five thousand bulbs planted, which are quickly replaced, when finished blooming, with fifteen thousand annuals. The sacred space and reception building is surrounded by limestone edged gardens and a waterfall, stream, and pond. There is also another larger pond with a waterfall across the road in the botanical cremation gardens. These gardens house a conifer collection, perennial plant of the year winners, ornamental grasses, and many more annual, and mixed perennial beds. The veterans’ section and military cemetery have thousands of perennials, in the borders in front of the military stones, which provide yearlong interest for veterans and their families. The fall colours throughout the cemetery are as magnificent as any forest. Sugar and black maples, crab apples, and serviceberries provide an array of fall colours, from yellow to orange, to red. Most gardens are accessible by interlocking pathways and asphalt roadways.

C. Maplelawn Garden

Address: 529 Richmond Rd, Ottawa, ON K2A 0G3

Services for Visitors: Street Parking – Partially Wheelchair Accessible – Picnic Tables

Description: In the 19th century, there were many fine houses in Ontario – but few of them were graced by walled gardens, and even fewer have survived. The walled garden at Maplelawn in Canada’s capital is not only a rare example, but it is also exceptionally well preserved.

In 1989, Maplelawn was designated a national historic site by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada because of: “…the quality of the house, but more particularly because its gardens are the best preserved of the few known surviving examples of early 19th century walled gardens in Canada…” As an ensemble, the house and remaining walled garden provide a clear record of the way European architectural and landscape ideas were transplanted to Canada.

In 1993, the garden was receiving only basic maintenance until a volunteer group, known as Friends of Maplelawn Garden, was formed. These volunteers entered into an agreement with the National Capital Commission (NCC) to study, preserve and rehabilitate the walled garden, making use of the large variety of perennials, such as the old peonies for which the garden was once famous, still thriving within its walls.

D. Billings Estate Gardens 

Address: 2100 Cabot Street, Ottawa, Ontario K1H 6K1

Services for Visitors: Parking – Washrooms – Wheelchair Accessible – Child-Friendly – Café and Eating Areas – Pay Phone

Description: The Billings family settled on the shores of the Rideau River in 1812 and took an active role in shaping the community as it evolved over time and until the 1970s when they left the estate. They helped build farms and churches, ran a dairy operation, and contributed to the development of the ByWard Market by providing produce for sale and building the “Farmers’ Bridge”.

This National Historic Site on 8 acres of green space is also home to one of Ottawa’s oldest community cemeteries where well-known Ottawa pioneers, such as the Evans, Brouse and Firth families, are laid to rest.

E. Dalton Eco-Parks Garden

Address: 199 Dalton Montée, Gatineau (Québec), J8R 0B3 Canada

Services for Visitors: Parking $ – Bicycle Racks – Wheelchair Accessible – Child Friendly – Café and Eating Areas

Description: Built by a group of motivated volunteers, the Parc écologique Dalton (Dalton Eco-Park) and the Parc floral des Nations (Floral Park of the Nations) will delight you. The site includes a 6-km multipurpose trail with three covered bridges over the Blanche River, a schoolhouse, a sugar shack, a farmhouse, orchards, a gardener’s workshop, a floral park, large vegetable gardens, and a replica of the old Templeton train station. An ideal spot for a stroll and a picnic.


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