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Landscapes of Canada Gardens

Pavers on the museum grounds.

Steps across Canada

Personalized Pavers

Make a donation for a personalized paving stone for the museum grounds.

This outdoor exhibition space on the museum's property features about 60 native species of trees and plants (including grasses, sedges and mosses). They are species that are typically found in Canada's boreal forest, Arctic tundra and prairie grasslands.

Martin Lipman © Canadian Museum of Nature

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The iceberg sculpture towers over the rocky tundra ecozone.

There is even a re-creation of the Mammoth Steppe, an Ice-Age ecosystem that is associated with Canada's Yukon.

Interpretive signage and large-format photos along the pedestrian pathway describe the characteristics of each ecosystem. Smaller species labels indicate the presence of specific plants.

Enjoyment of the gardens is actively encouraged; the gardens are interspersed with park benches, a picnic area, a short trail of log stumps, a mammoth family and a large "iceberg" sculpture.

The space is open year-round—take the opportunity to observe the different life stages of the plants through the seasons.

The Landscapes of Canada Gardens were created by the Canadian Museum of Nature in collaboration with CSW Landscape Architects.

Support was provided by the Living Prairie Museum in Winnipeg and the Montréal Botanical Garden.

Boreal Forest

The boreal-forest ecozone includes plants and trees such as white spruce (Picea glauca), trembling aspen (Populus tremuloides), black larch (Larix laricina) and balsam fir (Abies balsamea).

Dan Smythe © Canadian Museum of Nature

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Labrador tea is among a number of plants in the boreal-forest section.

Also in the forest is a towering rotting tree with bare, jagged limbs. Pieces of the tree were left to lie on the ground, reminding us of the life cycle that regenerates the boreal forest. A trail of log stumps provides a natural play area.

Did You Know?

The boreal forest is Canada's longest ecosystem, running unbroken through nearly every province and territory.

Arctic Tundra

The rocky terrain of this ecozone includes moss campion (Silene acaulis), bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi) and dwarf birch (Betula glandulosa). These plants grow low to the ground, so be careful as you scramble among the rocks!

Iceberg Sculpture

Dominating the tundra ecozone is a 13-metre stainless-steel sculpture inspired by icebergs. It straddles the main pathway and was created by sculptor and adventurer William (Bill) Lishman.

Lishman studied the forms and shapes of icebergs during many Arctic expeditions. The sculpture reflects the importance of the Arctic to Canada, to Canada's natural environment and to the museum (which has a strong focus on Arctic research and exploration).

Did You Know?

Far from being an empty, snow-covered desert, the Arctic tundra hosts a wide variety of habitats (wetlands, meadows, rocky expanses, polar deserts and even lush valleys), and is home to more than 800 species of vascular plants.

Prairie Grasslands

In the middle of the garden is a large expanse of grasslands. Plants in this zone include six species of grasses, as well as black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta), purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) and prairie crocus (Pulsatilla ludoviciana).

Did You Know?

Today, most of the Canadian prairie has been converted to farmland. The prairie has three grassland types, tall, mixed and short. Each is made up of a different combination of plants.

Mammoth Steppe

Be sure to snap a photo with our mammoth family. These sculptures—based on real specimens— surround a tiny patch of plants. The male calf specimen was found in Siberia, the adult female in Yukon and the adult male in Alaska.

Did You Know?

The Mammoth Steppe developed as a distinct ecological zone along the edge of the northern hemisphere's glaciers approximately 12 000 to 120 000 years ago, during the Quaternary Ice Age.