Allan Gardens can easily be called the Secret Gardens of Toronto. It is located in the heart of Toronto, Ontario, Canada and is nestled between Sherbourne Street to the east, Carlton Street to the north, Jarvis Street to the west and Gerrard Street East to the south. Admission is free. Allan Gardens is comprised of 6 greenhouses covering 16,000 square feet located on over 5 acres of park grounds.Allan Gardens was founded in 1834 by Sir John Colborne, who was the lieutenant-governor of Upper Canada from 1828 to 1836. Its first president was the Honorable George Markland, who at the time was the inspector-general of Upper Canada. Allan Gardens became the first horticultural society to be organized in Ontario. The purpose of the gardens was to encourage the introduction and cultivation of a variety of fruits, vegetables and plants in Canada. The Honorable George W. Allan then donated five acres of land to the horticultural society. On September 11, 1860, the gardens were officially opened by the Prince of Wales (Edward VII) during one of his visits to Canada. In 1901 the gardens were renamed “Allan Gardens”.A striking feature of the greenhouses is the domed “Palm House” built in 1909-1910 by Toronto’s city architect Robert McCallum. It was built to replace the pavilion that had burned down in 1902. The Palm house has been designated an historical building by the Toronto Historical Board under the Ontario Heritage Act.A permanent collection of plants is housed in the greenhouses and seasonal plants are rotated throughout the year. Each greenhouse has a unique theme. One of the greenhouses has a special orchid collection. It is also the only greenhouse at Allan Gardens to feature a small bridge and waterwheel. Another greenhouse recreates desert like conditions and features numerous species of cacti, including the organ pipe cactus, the beavertail cactus and the barrel cactus.The teaching greenhouse is a newer addition, designed to encourage and teach children how to garden. Three of the greenhouses feature small ponds with gold fish swimming lazily in the ponds. One of the ponds also features a decorative statue from England, which depicts the story of Leda and the swan from Greek mythology.You can often find artists in the greenhouses and in the park as they sit on a bench and sketch the local scenery. The park has several pathways, benches and numerous large trees. Most of the trees are over one hundred years old and include beech, oak, maple and cherry trees. As well, during the summer, the rose garden is in bloom all year long. A statue of the Scottish poet Robert Burns can be found in the east part of the park. In the west part of the park is a fountain. Recent renovations have added a leash free dog park, which is fenced in to keep the dogs in and away from danger.As an interesting side note, several episodes of the tv series “Kenny vs. Spenny” have featured the park in the show and local tv stations have featured the greenhouse on the news. As well, permission can be granted for wedding photos to be taken in the greenhouses.