Flower power: The best places near Toronto to enjoy summer blooms

From gardens and festivals, markets and more, your guide to celebrating the most spectacular flowers of the season

With the warm weather and all kinds of nature coming to life around us, now’s the perfect time for flower lovers and garden worshippers to get out and explore. Here are some of the best places to enjoy the beauty of summer flowers in and around Toronto.

The Toronto Flower Market

The ever-popular Toronto Flower Market has been selling top-quality blooms and garden-related items for the past nine years with roaring success. Inspired by the bustling flower markets of the U.K., this market brings old-world charm with a touch of new-world freshness. With nearly 40 unique vendors offering a craft collection of local and seasonal flora, a visit to this market is a must. Located at the 1001 Queen St. W. park (known for its unusual white squirrels), drop by on Saturday, June 10, July 15, August 12, September 9, and October 17.  

The Toronto Botanical Garden

Arguably one of the loveliest formal gardens in the city, the Toronto Botanical Gardens comes to life in the warmer months and is perfect for a stroll through its colourful and varied landscapes. There are also several upcoming events to explore where you can get your fill of flowers. 

Check out the hand-tied bouquet workshop on May 30, the tropical terrarium workshop on June 3 or yoga in the garden on June 7. 

The Lilac Festival

Around May, the fragrant scent of lilac fills the streets and gardens in Ontario — but none more so than in Warkworth, Ontario. Just 90 minutes east of Toronto, the town hosts the annual Warkworth Lilac Festival taking place on the Millennium Lilac Trail on the last weekend of May. Visitors come from all over the province to enjoy this trail, which has been lined with lilacs of unique varieties to make the trail a true lilac showcase. You can also enjoy a guided tour of the trail while you’re there, and even shop a few floral-themed vendors along the trail.

The Peony Festival

The large, fluffy petals of peonies have long made them a favourite for gardening romantics, florists and artists alike. And for the past 15 years, the city of Oshawa has paid homage to them at the Peony Festival. Featuring one of the largest peony collections on the continent, visitors will discover over 308 varieties of this generous bloom. Scheduled for June 10-11, come and learn, shop and enjoy the clouds of colours while listening to live jazz in the gardens. 

The Royal Botanical Gardens

Heralded as one of the best gardens in Canada, The Royal Botanical Gardens is known for impressive expanses of greenery and colour. Explore the symphony of flowers that grace the landscape, and keep an eye out for special events such as concerts, plays, art shows, and workshops.

Enjoy a tour of the irises and peonies beginning June 1, a tour of the rose garden beginning June 14 and a tour of the laking blooms beginning June 2 — a delight for any flower enthusiast.

Prince Edward County Lavender Festival’

The intoxicating scent of lavender is synonymous with calm and relaxation. Used for cooking, wellness and even traditional medicines, this humble country flower is a bonafide classic. 

For a truly magical experience ideal for the lavender obsessed, head out to the Prince Edward County Lavender Festival on July 8-9 and July 15-16, and revel in a sea of purple and blue fields. While there, learn about lavender’s many varieties and uses, opt for a photo or two and shop for some exquisite artisanal products.

The Watering Can Flower Market

Enter a whimsical space filled with garden treasures. Dripping with specialty plants, blooms, and bespoke flower arrangements, a visit to Vineland’s The Watering Can Flower Market is a must. Inspired by the beauty and liveliness of European flower markets, this family-run establishment has been charming visitors for 25 years. 

Drop by to discover an ever-changing mix of blossoms, pick up something special, or stay awhile and enjoy an enchanting high tea in the greenhouse — an experience to remember.

The Niagara Summer Floral Showhouse

Although Niagara Falls may be a tourist hotspot for those flocking to the casinos and the falls, for green thumbs and those seeking impressive blooms, there’s plenty more for the eye to see. Visit Niagara’s Floral Showhouse — a true oasis for the soul. 

Featuring three artfully curated greenhouses with flower shows for every season, tropical songbirds, many rare orchids, roses and other flowers, this patch of paradise is a welcome sight. 

The Sunflower Farm

Playful, nostalgic, and extraordinarily striking, everyone loves sunflowers. And rightly so. With many sunflower farms and festivals right across Ontario, there are many late-summer opportunities to admire these giant beauties. 

Featuring two locations in Beaverton and now Lindsay, head over to the Sunflower Farm, which opened in 2020, to meander 20-acres of dreamlike golden fields for a memorable experience. Take part in events such as yoga, photoshoots and more, and get the most out of the dog days of summer — these flowers usually bloom later in the summer, so plan your visit from Toronto accordingly. 

Article exclusive to STREETS OF TORONTO