An English Garden In Winnipeg, Manitoba

July 26, 2020
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Signpost welcoming to English Garden in front of greenery
The beautiful English Garden in Assiniboine Park in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

A stroll along the winding paths of the English Garden in Winnipeg’s Assiniboine Park is a pleasant way to spend a summer morning or afternoon. Nearly three acres of flowers, shrubs, and trees are on display. The garden is indicative of the English Landscape style, a free-flowing style featuring irregular shapes, curved lines, and an openness to the surrounding landscape that became popular in the late eighteenth century.

Stone walkways in front of floral plantings against a backdrop of evergreen and deciduous trees

The English Garden was established in the late 1920s. It was designed by landscape architect George Champion, Superintendent of the Parks Board. Over the years, each successive gardener has changed the garden to their tastes. Today, the informal garden contains evergreens and cedars, prairie grasses, Manitoba-bred roses, northern landscape plants, and many annual flowers.

A bronze statue of a boy with a boot at the edge of a circular fountain surrounded by floral plantings
Boy with the Boot statue

A pool and garden with a fountain statue greet you at the entrance. Numerous copies of the Boy with the Boot statue were cast in Italy at the end of the nineteenth century. The Winnipeg statue was given to the city in 1897 by the Young People’s Christian Endeavour Society and the Trades and Labour Council to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. It stood in front of City Hall (along with a statue of Queen Victoria) until 1913 when it was moved to Assiniboine Park. In 1952 it was installed in the newly designed entrance to the English Garden. Since then, the bronze boot has been stolen numerous times by pranksters, but almost always turns up again and is remounted.

A statue of a woman sitting at one end of a park bench reading a book
Lady in the Park statue

The Lady in the Park statue also sits at the entrance to the English Garden in Assiniboine Park, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. The statue sat for many years on Wellington Crescent at the home of Izzy and Babs Asper. During the winter months she sported a hat and scarf. The Asper family donated the statue in their memory.

Stone double-wide pathways separated by sod patches run along either side of triangular planting of greenery and shrubs

The design of the pathways through the garden lend themselves naturally to one-way traffic patterns that are becoming the norm in these pandemic days. Signs throughout the garden point you in the right direction and advise you to keep right.

A circular fountain with planting around it and surrounded by stone pathways and benches in the middle of an English style garden

The fountain in the centre of the garden had originally been in the backyard of Babs and Israel Asper and was donated to the garden when their home was sold.

Small cottage with thatched roof, white walls, and brown wood trim in the middle of a garden
The thatched roof Crofter’s Cottage, a fancy tool shed, seems straight out of a fairy tale
A shaded nook at the end of a stone pathway with benches on either side and a stone monument at the end

Benches throughout the garden, along the pathway, around the central fountain, and in the shady nook pictured above, offer opportunity to sit and enjoy the beauty around you. There are also a number of statues, many with connections to Winnipeg’s history. The weathered stonework in the above photo originally graced the façade of the Canadian Pacific Railway’s Royal Alexandria Hotel, considered one of the finest hotels in western Canada when it opened in 1906. The hotel was demolished in 1971. The stone piece was installed in the English Garden in 1990.

Stone coat of arms sculpture in a flower bed
This Coat of Arms of Canada, which originally graced the Garry Street entrance to the Annex of the Main Post Office Building, was installed in the English Garden in 1990
Stone pillar statue with head of Queen Victoria at the top. Statue is set in a garden and is surrounded by trees.
Queen Victoria statue

The statue of Queen Victoria in the above photograph was donated to the city in 1897 by the Young People’s Christian Endeavour Society to commemorate the Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. It was installed in the English Garden in 1967, Canada’s centennial year.

Sculpture of a school girl on a pedestal along a stone pathway surrounded by trees and shrubs at the entrance to a sculpture garden
Entrance from the English Garden into the neighbouring Leo Mol Sculpture Garden

The English Garden is just one of several attractions in the 283 acres of Assiniboine Park. The land was purchased by the Winnipeg Public Parks Board in 1904 and the park officially opened in 1909, although it was in use before that. Today, you’ll find walking trails, wide open spaces, picnic spots, playing fields, a zoo, a sculpture garden, public art galleries, playgrounds, and an outdoor event stage.

Ferns and purple blooming delphiniums in front of a stone fence and tall trees

As I walked through the garden, I sometimes wanted to know what a specific plant was, but there were no signage or labels anywhere. The garden is simply there for you to enjoy in the many colours and shapes of its plantings, the aromas of new blooms, grass, and trees, and the singing of the birds.

I will close with a few photos of plants within the garden.

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The English Garden in Assiniboine Park is a beautiful attraction in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada #Canada #Winnipeg #Manitoba #garden #park
The English Garden in Assiniboine Park is a beautiful attraction in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada #Canada #Winnipeg #Manitoba #garden #park

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  • Reply
    TravelGalCindy
    July 26, 2020 at 5:17 pm

    Wow, Donna. I’ve been back to Winnipeg several times over the years, but haven’t been to this garden since I was in grade school. Waiting for the border to reopen – it’s clearly time for another visit to Winnipeg.

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      July 31, 2020 at 9:47 am

      Cindy, if you visit the English Garden when you do get back to Winnipeg sometime in the future, be sure to stroll through the adjoining Leo Mol Sculpture Garden as well.

  • Reply
    Doreen Pendgracs
    July 27, 2020 at 12:27 pm

    Thx for this post, Donna. I truly love Winnipeg’s English Garden. It should be on every visitor’s list!

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      July 31, 2020 at 9:48 am

      Doreen, it is pretty spot. It had been a few years since I last visited and I’d forgotten how charming it is.

  • Reply
    Eva Dueck
    July 30, 2020 at 3:09 pm

    I enjoy a trip to the English Garden at least once a year, usually in August when the flowers tend to be at their best.

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      July 31, 2020 at 9:49 am

      Eva, I don’t get there every year, but am thinking now I should try to make at least one visit a year here. Maybe my next visit will be as soon as this August!

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