The Public Gardens took seed in 1753, when they were founded as a private venture. The tract was acquired by the Nova Scotia Horticultural Society in 1836, and these gardens assumed their present look around 1875 during the peak of the Victorian era. As such, the garden is one of Canada's Victorian masterpieces, rarer and more evocative than any mansard-roofed mansion. You'll find here wonderful examples of 19th-century trends in outdoor landscaping, from the "naturally" winding walks and ornate fountains to the duck ponds and Victorian band shell. (Stop by the shell at 2pm any summer Sunday to catch a free concert.) There are plenty of leafy trees, lush lawns, cranky ducks who have lost their fear of humans, and little ponds. You'll also usually find everyone from octogenarians to kids feeding pigeons there, and smartly uniformed guards slowly walk the grounds. The overseers have also been commendably stingy with memorial statues, plaques, and other falderol.