Come amaze at the Gardens of Light

Isa Tousignant

Isa Tousignant is an art and lifestyle writer based out of Montréal's ecclectic Park Ex neighbourhood. She is Contributing Editor for Canadian Art magazine and freelances full-time for a wide variety of magazines and brands. She’s also a jewellery designer and passionate about animal costumes and their role in contemporary art.

Welcome to the magical Gardens of Light, running from September 3 to October 31, 2021, when the Chinese, Japanese and First Nations gardens light up with otherworldly installations come nightfall. Wander the meandering footpaths set ablaze in a million colours, with delicate silk lanterns and ethereal light projections, and watch nature come to life.

Plan ahead

Every year the Gardens of Light amazes a growing number of visitors with its three decorated gardens – so much so that starting this year, tickets are now sold for scheduled time slots! You can get your tickets at either the online box office or onsite, but you’ll have to choose a specific date and time. Come visit day, you’ll be expected at the Rose Garden Lion statue, which marks the start of the Gardens of Light pathway, at the time indicated on your ticket. Your ticket stays valid all day at the Jardin and at the Insectarium, so feel free to wander at your leisure.

An ode to the moon

It’s so powerful that it moderates the Earth’s wobble, stabilizes its climate and creates tides: now why wouldn’t we be venerating the moon, our constant astral companion? Come see a luminous, interactive and immersive installation where you’ll not only hear the howling of the wolves, but howl like one yourself to make the moon grow bigger. Created to encourage dialogue between humans and nature, this is a can’t-miss nocturnal experience.

The legend of Pangu

For this edition, the Chinese Garden will be recreating the story of Pangu from the Chinese Daoist legends of creation with beautiful, brightly-lit silk lanterns. This powerful mythological creature is accompanied by the four animals representing the four cardinal directions: the black tortoise (north), the vermillion bird (south), the azure dragon (east) and the white tiger (west). See this centuries-old narrative spring to life with this truly breathtaking macrocosm.

A Zen tour of Japan

The Japanese Garden is a perfect site for contemplation. During the Gardens of Light, it’s all subtlety and Zen: when night falls the garden’s unique features get washed in tranquil lights that denote each shape and texture. In a true homage to the changing season, it’s an invitation to take the time to admire the subtle or spectacular changes that occur in nature. Stroll through a series of scenes in this peaceful garden, or take a seat on a bench and soak in the beauty – and check out the Botanical Garden schedule here for special nights featuring live music among the lights.

The First Nations cycle of life

The lights in the First Nations Garden are focuses on the Sacred Tree, a giant poplar that stands as the star of this garden, which shines in a multitude of colours to represent the circle of life, a First Nations symbol of the birth of seasons and nature’s perpetual transformations. The light show happens to the sounds of a heart beat and against a projection of fire, the great unifier of earth and sky.

Isa Tousignant

Isa Tousignant is an art and lifestyle writer based out of Montréal's ecclectic Park Ex neighbourhood. She is Contributing Editor for Canadian Art magazine and freelances full-time for a wide variety of magazines and brands. She’s also a jewellery designer and passionate about animal costumes and their role in contemporary art.

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