Garden Etiquette / FAQ

Do you have a specific qustion about RBG? Click the questions below to reveal the answers. If you cannot find your answer you can contact us online or give us a call at 905-527-1158 during operating hours.

Before Your VisitWhile You're HereAccessibility

Public Program's weather update Line: 905-527-1158, ext. 404
(updates posted one to two hours before program start time)

Visitor Policies

No Smoking Policy

Effective January 1, 2012, Royal Botanical Gardens and its property is smoke-free. Smoking is prohibited in all properties owned by Royal Botanical Gardens. This includes all buildings, common work areas, garden areas, natural lands, trails and parking areas including vehicles. All visitors to Royal Botanical Gardens must leave Royal Botanical Gardens property in order to smoke.

Scooter / Bike / Skateboard Policy

Please note that the use of recreational scooters, bicycles, skateboards, etc. is prohibited in all garden areas. Wheelchairs and motorized scooters for accessibilty purposes are permitted.

About the Organization

What is Royal Botanical Gardens? >>

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.


Why is RBG called "Royal" Botanical Gardens? >>

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.


When are you open? >>

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. Hours and dates available vary for other garden areas. See rbg.ca/visitus for a list of up-to-date hours by garden area.

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

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

View Hours

Getting Here / Before Your Visit


What are the addresses of your 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. PLEASE ENTER AT RBG CENTRE TO ACCESS HENDRIE PARK through the tunnel.
(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)

See rbg.ca/directions for more information.

Learn More

Is it possible to walk from garden to garden? >>

Walking from garden to garden is possible but please be aware that our property is spread out over 1,100 hectares of gardens and nature sanctuaries, with kilometers between the cultivated gardens. Please consider driving or biking between locations, or using the shuttle service when available (weekends, spring to mid-summer).

You can find a map of our properties and the distance between gardens at rbg.ca/directions


Do I have to pay to park my vehicle during my visit to RBG? >>

Parking at any of the cultivated garden areas is included in your General Admission.

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 or Rock Garden.


Do you provide transportation from garden to garden? >>

A shuttle bus is available on weekends during bloom season and through the summer. Find a full schedule and more details at rbg.ca/directions


How long should I plan to spend at RBG? >>

RBG is home to 5 cultivated garden areas and 27km of hiking trails. The length of time you spend is really up to you! Those who are looking for a brisk walk through the gardens could complete them all in a few short hours, while others wishing to stroll at a liesurely pace and read through all the interpretive and educational displays, enjoy any tours and activities happening in the gardens that day, or add a hike to their visit may not be able to complete their visit in just one day.

See the daily calendar at rbg.ca/visitorevents to see what's happening the day of your visit.

Enjoying the Gardens / Amenities


Do you have wheelchairs available for guests to use? >>

We have a limited number of wheelchairs available for our guests to use on a first come, first served basis at RBG Centre and Rock Garden. 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.


Can I bring my dog to RBG? >>

Royal Botanical Gardens allows dogs in the following areas; Hendrie Park, Rock Garden, Laking Garden, Arboretum and all trails. Dogs must be leashed at all times. Please be responsible and clean up after your dog. Although dogs are not permitted in RBG Centre (with the exception of working animals), dogs are permitted to enter RBG Centre for the exclusive purpose of entering Hendrie Park. Dogs may enter RBG Centre through the main doors and be led through the Camilla & Peter Dalglish Atrium to the tunnel to Hendrie Park.

Some special events may not accommodate dogs. These are noted in the individual event FAQ's available on the event pages.


Do you have strollers or wagons available for guests to use? >>

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


Is there anywhere to eat/purchase food and drinks at RBG? >>

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.


Can I bring my own food and drinks to the gardens? >>

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 select special events, including Garden Music Nights.

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.


Is photography permitted at Royal Botanical Gardens? >>

Hobby photography is welcome. We invite you to share your photos with us on social media @RBGCanada by using the hashtag #RBGblooms.

Please note that permits are required for professional photo shoots such as wedding, engagement, family, etc. Please visit rbg.ca/weddings to book wedding photography. Engagement, family, reunion, etc. photo permits can be purchased online at www.rbg.ca/photography


Area-Specific FAQ's

Accessibility

Royal Botanical Gardens is committed to providing exceptional and accessible service to our visitors in a manner that respects their dignity and independence. Learn more about accessibility in the gardens at rbg.ca/accessibility

Accessibility

Special Events

Are you looking for information for a specific RBG event? Individual FAQs are available for our signature events, including Garden Music Nights, Enchanted Garden Weekend, Holiday Traditions, and more. Visit rbg.ca/events to see upcoming events and for links to the event pages. Don't see a link for the event you're interested in listed there? Check back closer to the event!

Special Events

Membership

RBG offers year-long memberships for frequent visitors! Find membership-specific faqs at rbg.ca/membership

Memberships

Contact Us

Do you have a question you can't find the answer for? Contact us by phone at 905-527-1158, or send a message to the appropriate department at rbg.ca/contactus.

Contact RBG
visitosr looking at overhead map of RBG

Parking and Directions

RBG cosists of four formal gardens contained within 1,100 hectares of nature reserve.

Parking is available at the various garden areas and trailheads.

Learn More

two visitors walking down path surrounded by blooming magnolias

Admission and Hours

Your RBG general admission gives you access to all 5 garden areas for the day! Learn more and see our seasonal hours.

Learn More

spiral-like plant leaves

Accessibility

Everyone deserves to experience the wonder of plants in the natural world!

Learn about how those with accessibility needs can make the most of their visit to RBG.

Learn More