Royal Botanical Gardens
The Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG) is an ecological tribute to wondrous natural world in Ontario. Over 180,000 plants representing over 2,300 plant species live and thrive so visitors can appreciate Canada’s vast and varied flora. At over 1,100 hectares, RBG is Canada’s largest botanical gardens and has been designated a national historic site.
Explore thousands of indoor and outdoor exhibits, including five cultivated gardens. Hendrie Park is the largest and features the renowned rose garden. Blooming perennials paint Laking Garden with a rainbow of colour. For those who like to stay active, 27 km of walking trails mean you won’t soon run out of ground to explore.
The RBG Centre and flagship Hendrie Park are located just outside the city of Hamilton. The Arboretum, Nature Interpretive Centre, Rock Garden, Laking Garden and several trail heads are located across Hamilton and neighbouring Burlington. The gardens offer a shuttle bus around the grounds on some weekends. Each of the curated gardens is at least partially accessible by wheelchair users, offering paved and fine-gravel pathways.
For up-to-date information and details on the Royal Botanical Gardens, we recommend you visit their website. For information about other places of interest to explore nearby, keep scrolling to see what Destination Ontario recommends.
Some things to do may not be available due to COVID-19.
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More about Royal Botanical Gardens
The Royal Botanical Gardens attract hobbyist gardeners, nature lovers and curious kids. A guided tour of the gardens is a great way to learn the lay of the land at Royal Botanical Gardens. Special events and activities are held throughout the year, and the Discovery Station invites future gardeners to learn how to plant. Take a ride on the RBG Express, a short train ride that tours around the entirety of Hendrie Park during the winter months.
Dive into the history of the gardens. The David Braley and Nancy Gordon Rock Garden was built in 1932 as one of RBG’s first sites. After undergoing monumental changes, the Rock Garden now stands as both a memorial to RBG’s humble beginnings and a testament to its willingness to embrace the future. The limestone steps and beautifully constructed ponds and streams make the Rock Garden one of RBG’s more special—and oldest—locations.
Learn more about Canadian forests in landscaped Arboretum. Indigenous plants and flowering trees showcase the natural beauty of Ontario’s tallest flora. Cootes Paradise Trails lead through one of the area’s migratory bird stopover locations. Enjoy the forested trails in Hendrie Valley and the diverse landscape along the Escarpment Property trails.
Savour a cup of tea at the Greenhouse Cafe, the Rock Garden Cafe or the Turner Pavilion Teahouse, all open seasonally. Each of these on-site restaurants boasts seasonal ingredients and curated menus, including cheese boards.
The Royal Botanical Gardens are also surrounded by several other conservation areas, like the Dundas Valley Conservation Area and the Borer’s Falls Conservation Area, where you can check out some of Hamilton’s famous waterfalls. The Smokey Hollow Waterfall, a tall, rushing fall in natural bush forest, is a nearby attraction visible from the viewing platform at the end of an intermediate hiking trail.