One of my favourite fall events is the gorgeous glowing spectacle of the Magic of Lanterns at the Montreal Botanical Gardens. Strolling the pathways at dusk, I marvel in the contrast between the ornate lanterns’ incredible illumination and warmth and the foreboding fall sky. This is one the few venues equally suited to a first date, hundredth date, or excursion with parents and kids – the serene garden set aglow by lanterns appeals to all.

Nearly a thousand decorative lanterns – representing humans, animals, vegetation and other ornaments – will bedeck the Botanical Gardens’ Chinese Garden. This year’s theme, “The Feast of Peaches”, recounts the Chinese myth of the Celestial Banquet, hosted by a queen who served her guests the peaches of immortality – a fruit that ripens only once every 3000 years.

And, to mark their 20th edition, the Magic of Lanterns has expanded to the Botanical Gardens’ Japanese Garden. The Japanese Garden’s trees, bridges, stones and water are the backdrop for the lanterns’ brilliance. It’s the perfect antidote to a harried day at work.

The Botanical Gardens offers guided tours of the lanterns, where you’ll learn about the myth of the Celestial Banquet and more about the gardens.

Free musical events happen nightly: Chinese percussion at 6, 6:45, 7:30 and 8:15pm, and performances on the two-stringed violin on Saturday and Sunday evenings. 

The Magic of Lanterns runs daily 9am to 9pm, until November 4 @ The Montreal Botanical Garden, 4101 Sherbrooke Est.

 ~ Heidi Craig