Royal Botanical Gardens
For over 80 years Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG) has been an ecological jewel at the western tip of Lake Ontario. Conceived and founded through the tireless efforts of early conservationist Thomas Baker McQuesten, RBG lands were set aside to create the region’s first botanical garden. Patterned after Kew Gardens in England, RBG was created to serve as both a regional botanical tourism site and an environmental agency.
At 2,700 acres (1100 hectares), Royal Botanical Gardens is the largest botanical garden in Canada and one of the largest in the world. Within its 60 documented collections approximately 40,000 plants are displayed in five major garden exhibition areas; the Arboretum, Hendrie Park, Laking Garden, RBG Centre and the Rock Garden.
RBG’s Arboretum is more like an English landscape park than a garden. As its name implies, this is the place where you can see a wide variety of trees and other woody plants up close. It is especially beautiful in spring and fall. Two Arboretum landmarks are Rasberry House, named for the family that operated a market garden and dairy farm on this site for nearly 100 years, and its adjacent silo. The handsome old house, which sits up on the hill to the north, now serves as headquarters for the Bruce Trail Association. The Arboretum is large, and with exception of the lilac walk and the shrub collection areas, has few formal paths. It is also a great place for watching and experiencing other animal plant interactions.
Hendrie Park has something for everyone. Meandering through its collections, displays and interesting landscape features, the visitor can smell a rose or be challenged by the thought provoking stories in the medicinal garden. This garden truly illustrates the diversity of both plants and garden design. Discover native plants in a cultivated setting, a new look at vegetable gardening and the see the sky reflected on dark water.
Set on a fertile terraced plain, formerly a market garden, Laking Garden is home to RBG’s herbaceous perennial collections. The belvedere at the end of the path offers a panoramic view over the entire garden. This garden, overlooked by a small cottage offers the visitor an insight into the depth and breadth of perennial plants. Visitors in June should watch their step, as turtles will likely be nesting in the fertile soil of the lower terrace.
The year round focal point of Royal Botanical Gardens is RBG Centre. Here you will find both indoor and outdoor displays along with the administrative offices of the institution. Orient yourself to the property in Stedman Exploration Hall, stop by the Mediterranean Garden and explore a living wall in the Camilla and Peter Dalglish Atrium. Access Hendrie Park through an underground tunnel to continue your exploration of the plant world.
Built in 1930-31 on the site of an abandoned gravel pit, the 2.43-hectare (6-acre) Rock Garden was RBG’s first major display garden. Before its transformation, the surrounding area was littered with billboards and old shacks. As part of a make-work beautification project during the Depression, tons of weathered limestone rocks were brought in from nearby quarries to create the garden’s structure and its charming, irregular network of staircases, linked ponds, bridges, and waterfalls. Decades later, the rocks look as though they’ve been in place forever. This garden amphitheatre is a magical place, exuding an atmosphere of both tranquility and mystery.
The RBG now has The International Sculpture Collection, which is a permanent collection located in Hendrie Park. The collection was created by founding donor Dan Lawrie with RBG. It is an addition of new works over 10 years.
RBG Centre, the Arboretum and Hendrie Park remain open during the winter season (outdoor gardens are open - weather permitting.)
680 Plains Rd. W
Ontarian Culinary Experiences
The RBG Culinary Journey (4-6 dinners) will showcase different Ontario regions and their cuisine, emphasizing local ingredients and traditions. Stay… More >- Dec -31To- Jan -01
Our new Mini-Gardens are helping kids grow! Engage with RBG’s Junior Gardeners Program and see how young minds create horticultural… More >- Aug -31To- May -01
Nature Connects Exhibit
If you love LEGO, you’ll love Nature Connects. Created with over 300,000 LEGO pieces, this exhibition features 14 sculptures by… More >If you love LEGO, you’ll love Nature Connects. Created with over 300,000 LEGO pieces, this exhibition features 14 sculptures by New York artist, Sean Kenney. Building with LEGO bricks is about balance and connections, much like the biodiversity of Royal Botanical Gardens.- Aug -20To- May -20
Explore Ontario’s natural wonders through guided hikes, animal showcases, demonstrations and many more. Biodiversity Celebration will have a variety of… More >Explore Ontario’s natural wonders through guided hikes, animal showcases, demonstrations and many more. Biodiversity Celebration will have a variety of activities guests can enjoy and demonstrations with RBG experts.- May -22
Music in the Gardens
Royal Botanical Garden’s live summer concert series returns to beautiful Hendrie Park. Tap your feet to jazz and blues music… More >Royal Botanical Garden’s live summer concert series returns to beautiful Hendrie Park. Tap your feet to jazz and blues music every Wednesday from and enjoy country and roots music on Tuesdays. We’re celebrating Canada and Ontario’s 150th with some great homegrown talent!
Location 680 Plains Rd. W, Burlington, L7T 4H4
- Sep -30To- Jun -01
Dan Lawrie International Sculpture Collection
The International Sculpture Collection to Royal Botanical Gardens. In 2017, new sculpture will be added to celebrate the Sesquicentennial. More >- Dec -31To- Jun -01
Centennial Rose Garden Refresh
Our centennial Rose Garden is getting a facelift! Watch this exciting project as it gets underway in 2017.The refreshed Rose… More >Our centennial Rose Garden is getting a facelift! Watch this exciting project as it gets underway in 2017.The refreshed Rose Garden will allow RBG to interpret and promote Ontario’s innovation in sustainable gardening practices for visitors.- Oct -31To- Jun -01
Throughout our gardens you will discover unique horticultural displays that celebrate our nation’s 150th anniversary while exploring multicultural, ecological, historical… More >- Sep -30To- Jun -01
Canadian Citizenship Ceremony
Royal Botanical Gardens is proud to host our nation’s newest Canadians as they take their oath of citizenship in our… More >- Jun -29
The Canada BioBlitz
The Bioblitz will encourage visitors to learn about Ontario’s biodiversity through hands-on exploration with local scientists and community organizations, and… More >The Bioblitz will encourage visitors to learn about Ontario’s biodiversity through hands-on exploration with local scientists and community organizations, and engage in a new national citizen science initiative.- Jul -22To- Jul -21
Indigenous People and Plant Discovery Trail
The Indigenous People and Plants Discovery Trail will showcase Anishinabek culture’s relationship with Ontario’s native flora. The trail will be… More >The Indigenous People and Plants Discovery Trail will showcase Anishinabek culture’s relationship with Ontario’s native flora. The trail will be created in partnership with Anishinabek elders and traditional teachers.- Dec -31To- Sep -01
Local Railway Heritage Display
The Local Railway Heritage Display features a unique model train display that celebrates and depicts the rich heritage of railways… More >The Local Railway Heritage Display features a unique model train display that celebrates and depicts the rich heritage of railways throughout Hamilton, Burlington, the Niagara Escarpment, and Lake Ontario shoreline. Shown at the Rock Garden.- Dec -31To- Nov -01
T.B McQuestion Sculpture
RBG founder Thomas Baker McQuesten B. McQuesten The T.B. McQuesten Sculpture Competition will celebrate the legacy of the community leader… More >- Nov -30To- Nov -01
We’re celebrating Canadian Winter Traditions with food, heritage and environmental programing as well as children’s musical, theatrical, and story performances.… More >We’re celebrating Canadian Winter Traditions with food, heritage and environmental programing as well as children’s musical, theatrical, and story performances. Holiday Traditions returns with the RBG Botanical Train Show and a Signature Santa Experience.- Dec -31To- Nov -18
Holiday Light Show
This Multi-Media Light, Sound and Theatrical presentation will celebrate Ontario and Canada’s Sesquicentennial in the setting of the picturesque Rock… More >- Dec -31To- Dec -01