General FAQ

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(updates posted one to two hours before program start time)

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Royal Botanical Gardens is a living, interactive museum filled with natural wonders, including 1,100 hectares (2,700 acres) of breathtaking gardens and spectacular nature sanctuaries. We have the world’s largest lilac collection, a magnificent iris garden, 3,000 rose bushes, 100,000 spring bulbs, 32 kilometres of trails, and Cootes Paradise—a vibrant wetland at the westernmost tip of Lake Ontario.

In December 1929 the Parks Board approved the suggestion that the name Westdale Park be changed to something more grand, Royal Botanical Gardens. This change was prompted by Thomas Baker McQuesten, a lawyer who eventually became the Member of Provincial Parliament for the City of Hamilton, who was a frequent visitor to Royal Botanic Gardens, in the town of Kew, in the south-western area of metropolitan London, England. Royal Botanic Gardens, also called Kew Gardens, has been a model for many botanical gardens around the world since the 18th century. McQuesten was authorized by the City of Hamilton to approach the Government of Canada for permission to use the term "Royal" in the name of the park.

A Royal Charter was granted by King George V of England for the name "Royal Botanical Gardens" in 1930. RBG is the only botanical garden in Canada with the right to use "Royal" in its name.

RBG is a year round attraction with various facilities and areas open throughout the year including holidays. RBG Centre, the Mediterranean Garden and Hendrie Park (weather permitting) are open every day of the year except January 1st, December 25th and December 26th. The Laking Garden is open from late April through Thanksgiving.

All trail heads (including the Arboretum) are open year round. The parking lot at Rock Chapel is maintained seasonally and is closed throughout the winter.

Visit http://www.rbg.ca/visitus for up to date hours of all our facilities and garden areas.

RBG Centre (main entrance) 680 Plains Rd. W. Burlington, ON
(43° 17.423' N, 79° 52.514' W)

Hendrie Park 1104 Plains Rd. W. Burlington, ON
(43° 17.535' N, 79° 52.582' W)

Laking Garden 1221 Spring Garden Rd. Burlington, ON
(kiosk: 43° 17.545' N, 79° 53.141' W)

Rock Garden 1210 York Blvd. Hamilton, ON
(kiosk: 43° 17.322' N, 79° 53.433' W)

Arboretum 16 Old Guelph Rd. Dundas, ON
(kiosk: 43° 17.640' N, 79° 54.279' W)

Walking from garden to garden is possible but please be aware that our property is spread out over 1100 hectares of gardens and nature sanctuaries.

Pay and Display parking is in effect at all trail heads as well as Laking Garden and the Arboretum when garden kiosks are not in operation. There are five main trailhead locations, Princess Point, Westdale, the Arboretum, Cherry Hill Gate and Rock Chapel, as well as two canoe launch sites, Princess Point & Valley Inn. These lead to 27km of trails within the sanctuaries as well as links to multiple other regional trails. Pay and Display fees are $1/hour to a maximum of $5 at all sites except for the Arboretum which is $3/hour to a maximum of $15. A daily parking pass is issued with each general admission purchase. Please place this parking pass on the dashboard of your vehicle for the duration of your visit. RBG members park for free at all properties by displaying their members’ parking pass in their vehicle. Paid parking is not required at RBG Centre.

RBG provides a shuttle bus during peak periods, typically on weekends from May-early September. The shuttle bus operates from 10am-8pm and travels from garden to garden on a loop. A shuttle bus stop is identified in front of each garden area where guests can board or off load. Visit http://www.rbg.ca/visitus for more information on when the shuttle bus will be running.

RBG is smoke-free. Smoking is prohibited in all properties owned by Royal Botanical Gardens. This includes all buildings, garden areas, natural lands, trails and parking areas including vehicles. All visitors Gardens must leave RBG property in order to smoke.

Dogs are permitted inside of the gardens under the condition that they remain leashed at all times. Dogs are not permitted inside of RBG Centre beyond the Peter & Camilla Dalglish Atrium. Please be sure to clean up after your pet.

No, in order to ensure the safety of our guests, we do not allow the use of bicycles, scooters, rollerblades or skateboards inside of the gardens. Motorized scooters required for mobility challenges are permitted.

Yes, we have a limited number of wheelchairs available for our guests to use on a first come, first served basis. We do not charge a fee for wheelchairs but we do require a piece of photo identification in order to sign one out. Please note that in order to best serve all of our guests we do not take advanced reservations for wheelchairs.

At this time, we do not have strollers or wagons available for our guests to use during their visit.

Yes, please feel free to visit The Greenhouse Café, the Rock Garden Café or the Turner Pavilion Tea House to enjoy a snack or meal. Current hours of operation and menus can be found by clicking here.

You are welcome to bring in your own picnic and snacks to enjoy during your visit to RBG with the exception of our Garden Music Series. Outside food and drink is not permitted at our Country and Roots Tuesdays events or our Red, Hot Jazz & Cool Blues events. A selection of BBQ items is available for purchase at these and many other events in addition to a cash bar. When bringing your own food to RBG, please be courteous of the environment and other guests by cleaning up after your meal and disposing of any litter. BBQ’s and other similar open flame appliances are not permitted on RBG property.

A selection of tables and chairs are available inside of the Rose Garden Tent in addition to rows of chairs outside of the tent. These tables and chairs are available to our guests on a first come, first served basis. You are also welcome to bring your own lawn chair or blanket if you prefer.

Hobby photography is welcome. We invite you to share your photos with us on social media @RBGCanada by using the hashtag #RBGblooms or by emailing us at . Please note that permits are required for professional photo shoots such as wedding, engagement, family, etc. Please email to book wedding photography. Engagement, family, reunion, etc. photo permits can be purchased online at www.rbg.ca/photography

Membership FAQ

Here are some of the most common questions about our memberships:
Click on the question to reveal the anwser.

What is the term of a membership to Royal Botanical Gardens?

One-year memberships provide unlimited admission for one year from time of purchase. Membership cards must be presented at each visit. Membership cards are non-transferable.

What are the membership benefits?

New Benefits!

  • Free admission to RBG’s Music Series - Over 20 live performances!
  • Exclusive member only invitations to special exhibit openings, events and educational lectures
  • 20% discount at the 39th Annual Spring Plant Sale
  • One-year subscription to Better Homes and Gardens magazine (offer available until September 30, 2015)

Additional Benefits

Which is the best level of membership for me?

The Gardens has categories and combinations to fit every lifestyle.

Single - Year round general admission for 1 designated card holder

Single Plus - Year round general admission for 1 designated card holder and general admission for 1 *guest, per visit.

Family-Dual - Year round general admission for 2 designated card holders and all accompanying children/grandchildren under the ages of 18 *Does not apply to school, youth or other group tours

Family-Dual Plus - Year round general admission for 2 designated card holders, general admission for 2 *guests per visit and all accompanying children/grandchildren under the ages of 18 *Does not apply to school, youth or other group tours

Senior - Year round general admission for 1 designated card holder (65+)

Senior Plus - Year round general admission for 1 designated card holder (65+) and general admission for 1 *guest per visit

Senior-Dual - Year round general admission for 2 designated card holders (65+) and all accompanying children/grandchildren under the ages of 18

Senior-Dual Plus - Year round general admission for 2 designated card holders (65+), general admission for 2 *guests per visit and all accompanying children/grandchildren under the ages of 18

Student/Youth - Year round general admission for 1 designated card holder, between the ages of 12-18 or with valid student ID. Membership must be purchased in person

Organization/Group - Must be a horticultural society, garden club, or other non-profit group or organization

Paradise Found - Annual Subscription to receive the exclusive quarterly members magazine, Paradise Found. Membership benefits not included

Additional Annual Guest Pass, on top of any Plus Membership - Can be purchased with any new or renewal Plus Membership Type, or if you currently have an active Plus Membership.

*Membership benefits do not transfer to the guest visitor

For more information please call 905-527-1158, ext. 290, or email membership@rbg.ca.

Do you have to share a dual membership with your partner or spouse?

No, you can share a membership with any designated adult of your choice—a friend, relative, neighbour, etc. However, you must also share your member mailings. RBG sends out one mailing per membership to one address only.

How does a member know when it is time to renew a membership?

Members receive a renewal notice and a return addressed envelope about one month prior to the expiration date on their membership. Complete the renewal notice and enclose either a cheque or credit card number or renew over the telephone with a credit card. Members also have the option of authorizing automatic credit card renewal. We ask that you keep your credit card information valid and up to date.

Memberships are renewed from the day they expire and not from the date on the cheque.

Does RBG have gift memberships?

The Gardens' memberships make great gifts that can be enjoyed all year long! The easiest way to order a gift membership is to call 905-527-1158, ext. 514. Order a gift membership over the phone with a credit card and personalize a gift card. If preferred, RBG can mail the gift package directly to the recipient. Gift memberships can also be picked up during regular business hours—Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Do you have corporate sponsorship opportunities?

Yes, there are several opportunities for company or individual recognition. For more information please call 905-527-1158, ext. 290.