George Allan gifted the garden and the main part of the property to the Toronto Horticultural Society in 1857. He was President of the Society, one-time Mayor of Toronto, and long-time Senator. The park was known as the ‘Botanical Gardens’ and the ‘Horticultural Gardens’. It was opened by the Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII, on September 11, 1860, with a rustic pavilion on its site. A larger Horticultural Pavilion House, built in 1879, burned in 1902. When George Allan died in 1901, the park was renamed Allan Gardens. In 1910, the current glass Palm House was built, with the cool house addition in 1924, and the northern tropical house in 1956. A 1931 greenhouse was donated by the University of Toronto, relocated to Allan Gardens, and opened as the Children’s Conservatory in 2004. The greenhouses are a reflective refuge in any season, but particularly in winter, when the warmth and leafy foliage is a stark contrast to cold temperatures and snow and ice outside.
The trees in the park represent the northern tip of the Carolinian forest with species such as black cherry, American beech, red oak, sugar maple and sassafras. Most are over one hundred years old and a 2008 inventory showed 309 trees in the park.The park is home to three varieties of squirrel, the gray, the black, and, unique to this park, the red tailed black squirrel. The park is also home to one of the city’s largest flock of pigeons,a roving peregrine falcon, and a statue of Robert Burns. Now, Allan Gardens Conservatory greenhouses comprise over 16,000 square feet. It boasts an extensive permanent collection that is supplemented by colourful seasonal plants and flower shows. Step into the warm solitude and out of the frenetic city for a few cherished minutes.
– Chip Barkel, MCNE, SRES, Toronto Real Estate. Extraordinary Service. Top Results.