Last weekend I went to see The Magic of Lanterns at the Botanical Garden of Montreal with my boyfriend. I remembered going there when I was a kid with my parents and my sister and just be amazed by the lights, the colours and the various lantern forms such as plants, animals, herbs and much more! I thought it would be a nice idea for a date and a nice activity to do every year since this exhibition runs from the month of september to beginning of november every year.
We went pretty late this year and got to go on the last weekend. It was freezing cold outside, we had to take our winter coats in order to stay warm during the whole tour. I would suggest you to go earlier in the season or if you are late-birds to check the weather before going out! The Botanical Garden is right next to the Olympic Stadium which is at the Pie IX metro station. If you don’t want to pay the 12$ parking fee, I would suggest you to take the metro, it is very close by and you will save some money! Bring your student ID card and enjoy the amazing light spectacle you are about to see.
There is a different thematic every year. On the way in, there is a small path with lanterns on each side guiding you to the very principal site of the exhibition. Representations of animals such as tigers, pandas, birds, donkeys and much more (but specifically related to a chinese region) introduce you to what you are about to see. While going through the garden, you can also see and enter various chinese old temples replicas. They also serve jasmine tea and little chinese treats for those who needs a little snack and they sell small little lanterns if you want a souvenir! A beautiful talented woman also gives live zither performances, which immerse you even more into the Chinese culture.
At this point, you are at the most beautiful spot of the tour. On the little lake, you come face to face with this humongous lighted lantern representation, and this year, it was the southern part of China’s Yunnan Province, a lush tropical rainforest. I can’t even describe in words the beauty this spectacle offers. What is amazing is that not only is The Magic of Lanterns beautiful but it is very insightful as well. You have little signs on the path at almost every lantern station telling you information on the species or the people represented. The multitude of rich and vivid colours and lights gives a striking contrast with the darkness of the night.
I really hope this entry made you want to visit or to go back to the Chinese Lanterns! For those who were wondering, it only takes about 20 minutes to walk through the garden but take your time! It is very mesmerizing and beautiful. I will definitively go back every single year 🙂