A garden to discover with your hands

Cour des sens © Espace pour la vie (Claude Lafond)
A garden to discover with your hands

Are you familiar with the courtyard in the Botanical Garden’s free-entry zone? This is the Courtyard of the Senses, and it is well worth taking a guided tour.

Go through the Garden’s front gates, and keep walking straight until you reach the Reception Gardens; take a quick break by the refreshing central fountain then go around it to the left. On your right, you will hear the sound of water cascading into a series of basins; keep going for a short 300 m or so. Then the restaurant will be on your left, and the entrance to the Courtyard of the Senses will be on your right. Go up the path to the reception pergola. Welcome!

What makes the Courtyard of the Senses so special?

Découvrir la Cour des sens par le toucher © Espace pour la vie (Michel Tremblay)

It was designed with visually impaired visitors in mind. Its four sections represent four different scents and textures. Begin with a “soft” welcome, then go through a “rough” patch, experience a “prickly” feeling and come to a “sticky” end!

Every sense on alert

The Courtyard of the Senses is about more than touch and smell. It is also about hearing. The fountain in the middle helps you keep your bearings. And that’s not all. The path through each section is covered with a different material: wood, gravel, paving stones and lawn to guide your steps. A visitor guide will help you discover the taste section, where you will have the opportunity to sample a mixture of leaves reminiscent of lemonade — very refreshing in the summer. You can also taste various sweet substances and choose your favourite.

A trail for the visually impaired

Un panneau explicatif © Espace pour la vie

If you are visually impaired and would like to take another tour of the Courtyard on your own, you’re welcome to! Past the pergola, a placard in braille, large font and contrasting colours indicates the different zones. Next, follow the path, running your hand along to the handrail. Feel a label? That means that you are facing a plant; bend down to touch and smell it. Want to know what kind of plant it is? Place your hand on the label. The information is provided in French, English and braille. Now that you are well informed, you can continue your visit in peace and follow your senses.

Our team of guides, including two with visual impairments, is looking forward to welcoming lots of visitors this summer and offering a range of activities for all to enjoy. The Courtyard of the Senses is open to all — young and old, sighted and non-sighted.

Do you have questions about this blog?

Visit our Green Pages Or, go to the Horticultural information counter at the Botanical Garden for personalized service. One of our experts will be happy to give you more information.

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