The Royal Botanical Gardens, the largest botanical garden in Canada, includes five distinct formal gardens on 400 display acres (162 hectares). Known for its colorful blooms, rock garden, rose garden and tea house, and indoor Mediterranean garden, the gardens are set on a total of 2,700 acres (1,100 hectares) of protected land in Burlington, Ontario, just outside Toronto.
About 40,000 plants are displayed in the Royal Botanical Gardens. The highlights include the RBG Centre, with the popular Mediterranean Garden Greenhouse; Hendrie Park; Laking Garden, a perennial terraced garden; the newly renovated Rock Garden; and the Arboretum, reminiscent of an English park. More than 17 miles (27 kilometers) of trails connect these gardens, giving visitors a chance to explore nature while taking photos and learning about native plants.
Things to Know Before You Go
- There are three on-site restaurants: The Greenhouse Cafe, Rock Garden Cafe, and Turner Pavilion Tea House.
- Dogs are allowed in some of the gardens and on all of the trails.
- Visitors can bring a picnic meal or snacks to enjoy, except during special events.
- A limited number of wheelchairs are available for guest use.
- A free shuttle service takes visitors to all five garden areas on select weekends.
How to Get There
The RBG is located 47 miles (75 kilometers) southwest of Toronto. From Toronto, take the QEW to Highway 403 West, and exit at Waterdown Road. Travel south to Plains Road West and turn right. The RBG Centre parking lot is on the left. Parking is available at each of the five garden areas and the trailheads.
When to Get There
The Royal Botanical Gardens is particularly vibrant in the spring, summer, and fall months. There are many festivals and events held throughout the year, including the Ontario Garden Show in spring, Shakespeare at the Rock in August, Garden Music Nights throughout summer, and a Tea Festival and Fest-of-Ales in November and December.
A Garden That Rocks
The Rock Garden at Royal Botanical Gardens, which includes waterfalls and a cafe, holds a spot in the hearts of many Ontario residents who have memories of visiting the gardens as children. The RBG hosts an Enchanted Weekend each year where visitors dress like fairies, gnomes, or sprites and travel to the Rock Garden, meeting other fairies along the way and creating wands and making wishes on the Wishing Bridge.