The serene Edwards Gardens is located at 755 Lawrence Ave E (at Leslie St), just outside of the southeastern edge of the Bridle Path neighbourhood in Toronto.
The Milne Family
Soon after the War of 1812, a European settlement began in the area. In 1817, the Scottish-born weaver, Alexander Milne along with his family settled the land. They had a homestead and operated a prosperous saw and woollen mill. The land remained in the family for over a century and the original 11-hectare property grew to 240-hectares. Subsequent owners of the enormous property allowed it to become overgrown.
In 1944, Rupert Edwards, owner of Canada Varnish Ltd, bought the original Milne farm. With a vision of “a place in the country… with wide-open spaces all around, with plenty of room to move and breath”, Mr Edwards added landscape features to the property over the next decade. They included a 9-hole golf course, ponds, a large rockery, flower beds and picturesque bridges, as well as being a safe haven for wildlife.
Mr Edwards’ vision of a public park came to fruition when in 1955, Metropolitan Toronto purchased the property. A year later, Edwards Gardens opened. Wilket Creek is the tranquil watercourse passing through the gardens and park. Until the 1950s, it was known as Milne Creek.
The Garden Club of Toronto operated out of the Milne House facilities. The club had a dream of creating a centre to provide Torontonians with horticultural information. The result of that became the Toronto Botanical Garden.
In 1962, a fire destroyed the Milne House. The landmark was estimated to be about 95 years old.
For over six decades, visitors have been enjoying the natural beauty and the unique character of the landscape. Edwards Gardens is open daily, from dawn until dusk. Access is free.