You guys probably noticed by now that I am a creature of habit. I find comfort in yearly traditions, and I love the excitement that inevitably builds up when I look forward to doing something I know I will genuinely enjoy. And something I have been doing for as long as I can remember is visiting the Gardens of Light exhibit at the Montreal Botanical Gardens.
Maybe it’s because the exhibit is my way to kick off scarf and chai latte season (admittedly, my favorite season), or maybe it’s because my eye for aesthetics goes in overdrive when I marvel at the perfectly assembled lanterns. Maybe it’s because the whole ensemble is something that seemingly belongs in otherworldly dreams.
Either way, the Gardens of Light keep amazing me year after year. It truly never gets old, and I strongly suggest you pay a visit to the Botanical Gardens this month, and see if you will fall as deeply in love with the lanterns as I have.
Every winter, Montreal-based artists pick a theme and design the lanterns, pick the right colors, dimensions and characters. The sketches are sent to Chinese artisans in Shanghai during the spring, where they are assembled following very ancient and traditional methods. The lanterns are then sent to Montreal by boat, where a humongous team of electricians, landscape artists, painters, carpenters and welders spend a whole month designing the gardens. And then… showtime!
Before you go:
- The Magic of Lanterns festival is held every year from early September to early November (until November 3rd this year).
- To avoid long queues, get your tickets online.
- Entrance costs $18.75.
- The Botanical Gardens can be reached via metro at Pie-IX station on the green line.
- Ticket offices close at 9PM but the gardens stay open until 10ish.
- There’s no point in going in the daytime. The Lanterns really are most glorious at night, when the colors and characters almost come to life.