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.

This article was updated on September 12, 2022.

Welcome to the magical Gardens of Light, running from September 2 to October 31, 2022, when the Chinese, Japanese and First Nations gardens at Montréal’s Jardin botanique light up 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 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. On your chosen 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 as well as at the Insectarium, so feel free to wander at your leisure. 

 

An ode to the moon

This celebratory 30th edition of Gardens of Light makes homage to our constant astral companion: the moon. It’s so powerful that it moderates the Earth’s wobble, stabilizes its climate and creates tides! 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 an experience not to be missed. (And watch for the special Halloween Shivers event happening throughout October!) 

The legend of Pangu

The Chinese Garden will be decked out from top to bottom in hundreds of handmade silk lanterns to tell the story of Pangu, from the Chinese Daoist legends of creation. Not only that, for the 30th anniversary it will inaugurate a whole new immersive multimedia water show to tell Pangu’s legend! 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). And on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays starting at 7:30 p.m., celebrate the Gardens of Light’s 30th anniversary by signing up for one of the half-hour lantern making workshops.  

 

A Zen tour of Japan

By contrast to that high-octane light show, the Japanese Garden is a perfect site for contemplation. When night falls the garden’s unique features get washed in tranquil lights that denote each shape and texture. In a poetic homage to the changing seasons, it’s an invitation to take the time to admire the subtle or spectacular transformations of nature. Stroll through a series of scenes in this peaceful garden or take a seat on a bench and soak in the beauty. 

 

The First Nations cycle of life

This lights in the First Nations Garden are focuses on the Sacred Tree, a giant poplar that stands as the star of this garden. The garden around it shines in a multitude of colours to represent the circle of life, the birth of seasons and nature’s perpetual transformations. The light show happens to the sounds of a heartbeat 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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