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RBG Centre

Start your visit to Royal Botanical Gardens at RBG Centre, home to many special programs and events where you will find both indoor and outdoor displays, Shop @ the Gardens gift shop and the Greenhouse Café, along with our administrative offices.

COVID-19

Due to COVID-19, some amenities and FAQ's listed on this page may be inaccurate. As we move through our phased re-opening, updated information can be found on our COVID-19 Policies and Procedures notice. Before joining us, please read through this full notice for important information regarding your visit.

Key Attractions

  • Mediterranean Garden
  • Spicer Court
  • Natural Playground
  • Shop @ the Gardens
  • Greenhouse Café

Quick Facts

  • Showcases 1,100 types and 12,900 individual plants
  • Home to 17,000 sq. ft. of event space
  • Entryway to Hendrie Park (through a tunnel under Plains Road)

Visiting RBG Centre

  • General Admission or Membership Applies
  • Current Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • 680 Plains Road W. Burlington ON

Today’s Hours

Seasonal Hours

  • CLOSED (except to access Hendrie Park) (Jun 5 to Sep 8)

Exceptions

  • Dec 24 Christmas Eve: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Dec 25 Christmas Day: Closed
  • Dec 26 Boxing Day: Closed
  • Dec 31 New Year's Eve: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Jan 1 New Year's Day: Closed

Collections & Areas of Interest

Mediterranean Garden

Peak Interest: December to April

Our Mediterranean Garden brings together plants that have adapted to the world’s five Mediterranean climate zones: the Mediterranean Basin, South Africa’s Western Cape, southwestern Australia, central Chile, and southern California and Baja.

Two landscaped levels showcase cultivars of native and exotic Mediterranean plants. This indoor garden blooms through the winter, creating an ideal escape from the cold.

Cacti and Succulent Collection

Peak interest: all year

RBG’s Cactus and Succulent Collection showcases plants adapted to extremely arid environments including euphorbias from the Old World and cacti from the New World. These unusual plants have developed unique adaptations in order to survive harsh climates. Many have spines instead of leaves to reduce water loss and help defend against water-seeking animals. They often have a waxy coating to prevent water loss and many have thick water retentive tissue — in many cases assuming the optimal shape of a sphere or cylinder.

Natural Playground

Peak interest: all year

Opened in 2013 thanks to a generous donation from the Auxiliary of RBG, the Natural Playground is a place where children of any age can get outside and play. Outdoor activities build healthy minds and bodies, but research shows that today’s children spend far too little time outside. With that in mind, we have created a play space that supports gross- and fine-motor skill development, imaginative cooperative play, multi-sensory experiential learning, and good old-fashioned fun.

The Breezeway

Peak interest: all year

From January to April, the Breezeway brightens winter with various spring-flowering shrubs and trees and a wide range of common and exotic bulbs that evoke a fragrant spring day.

Our talented gardeners change the space with a variety of themes each year, culminating in a holiday season show of poinsettia, cyclamen, and winter greens.

Royal Court

Peak interest: May to October

This secluded courtyard boasts plants chosen for rich textures and colours including Japanese maples, which thrive in its microclimate. Moving water and a variety of aquatic displays form focal points in this garden.

While Royal Court is a popular site for weddings and corporate functions, visitors are encouraged to explore the space between events.

John P. Smith and Sarah Smith Orchid Collection Display Case

Peak interest: all year

The allure of orchids is indisputable, and while this display is not large, it represents only a fraction of our full collection, which is housed in a large, staff-only greenhouse. Most of the orchid collection is not in bloom at any one time, so a large collection is required to keep the small display case filled year-round, and plants are rotated in and out throughout the year.

The Orchid Society of Royal Botanical Gardens is active in the care and development of this collection and the staging of our annual orchid show and sale.

Stedman Exploration Hall

Peak interest: all year

Stedman Exploration Hall is your RBG-at-a-glance, jumping-off point. Get a behind-the-scenes look at ongoing projects through interactive displays, introduce yourself to our amazing flora and fauna, watch a video about accessioning plants, guess the number of species in our natural lands, and learn how a plant can clean the air in your home.

Interesting and unusual plants are rotated through this space, giving you an opportunity to experience the diversity of the plant kingdom.

Spicer Court

Peak interest: February to November

This sheltered, south-facing courtyard creates a microclimate where autumn lingers, and spring arrives early. We’ve stretched the year by filling this courtyard with connoisseurs’ plants—from February’s blooms of Snowdrops (Galanthus), Netted Iris (Iris reticulata) and Christmas Rose (Helleborus) to autumn crocus (Colchicum spp.) in October and Bieberstein’s Crocus (Crocus speciosus) in November. Several plants in Spicer Court are used as phenology specimens, helping us to track the impact of climate change on plants.

Urban Street Tree Display

This city can be a hard place for a tree. Here in the RBG Centre parking lot, we have planted many different species touted to be tolerant of our harsh urban environments. This includes native trees, non-native trees, species, and cultivars. Most of these are offered as street tree options in our local municipalities. Look for Paperbark Maple (Acer griseum), Japanese Zelkova (Zelkova serrata), or Chinese Rubber Tree (Eucommia ulmoides) to see how they are faring in their concrete paradise.

Aldershot Escarpment Garden

The Aldershot Escarpment Garden allows visitors to experience the beauty of the Niagara Escarpment without putting on hiking boots. This sunken garden features a limestone waterfall surrounded by native trees and shrubs. A key element is a steel and glass sculpture which includes numerous organic artifacts that have left fossil-like imprints in the glass, allowing you to discover something new every time you look.

The DeLuca family, owners of Aldershot Landscape Contractors, made a lead gift to this garden in memory of Joseph DeLuca, founder of the company.

Camilla and Peter Dalglish Atrium

The Camilla and Peter Dalglish Atrium is our first LEED-certified building, and home to many of the major exhibitions and events presented at RBG. Among its many green features (from radiant floor heating, to rainwater capturing system), the space boasts two living walls — technology that uses living plant systems to improve indoor air quality. Hooked into the building’s ventilation system, the living walls remove volatile organic compounds from the air. Tropical plants such as Philodendron, Schefflera and Ficus elastica, common indoor houseplants, are stripped of their soil and planted in the hydroponic wall. The building’s green features are all interpreted on-site.

The Living Walls were designed and installed by NEDLAW Living Walls of Breslau, Ontario.

What’s in Bloom & Plants of Interest at RBG Centre

  • Spring Iris Blooming
  • Pink And Purple Tulips
  • Striped Tulip Display In Front Of RBG Centre
  • Purple Crocus Blooming On Lawn
  • Redbud Blooms On Tree Against Blue Sky

March

  • Mediterranean Garden
  • Cacti and Succulent Collection
  • Breezeway Display
  • Orchid Display Case

April

  • Spring Ephemerals
  • Mediterranean Garden
  • Cacti and Succulent Collection
  • Breezeway Display
  • Orchid Display Case
  • Flowering Cherries*

May

  • Spring Ephemerals
  • Mediterranean Garden
  • Cacti and Succulent Collection
  • Breezeway Display
  • Orchid Display Case
  • Flowering Cherries*
  • Magnolia*

Bloom time is often influenced by many natural events including temperature and climate. As these can vary from year to year bloom times are influenced by these factors. Please bear in mind that if we experience an early or late spring, bloom times could shift up to 10 days earlier or 10 days later.

*These plants have short bloom times and are very weather dependant. Check our social media feeds closer to bloom time for updates.

  • Unripe Pomegranate On Tree Mediterranean Garden
  • White And Purple Orchid
  • Blue And White Giant Bird Of Paradise Bloom Mediterranean Garden
  • Pink And White Lily In Breezeway Display
  • Agave In Cacti Collection

June

  • Annuals
  • Mediterranean Garden
  • Cacti and Succulent Collection
  • Breezeway Display
  • Orchid Display Case

July

  • Annuals
  • Mediterranean Garden
  • Cacti and Succulent Collection
  • Breezeway Display
  • Orchid Display Case

August

  • Annuals
  • Mediterranean Garden
  • Cacti and Succulent Collection
  • Breezeway Display
  • Orchid Display Case

Bloom time is often influenced by many natural events including temperature and climate. As these can vary from year to year, bloom times are influenced by these factors. Please bear in mind that if we experience an early or late spring, bloom times could shift up to 10 days earlier or 10 days later.

  • Bright Orange Leaves In Fall Royal Court
  • Cacti And Succulent Collection
  • Fall Mum And Cabbage Display Breezeway
  • Bright Red Autumn Leaves Royal Court
  • Orchids In Display Case

September

  • Annuals
  • Mediterranean Garden
  • Cacti and Succulent Collection
  • Breezeway Display
  • Orchid Display Case

October

  • Fall Colours
  • Mediterranean Garden
  • Cacti and Succulent Collection
  • Breezeway Display
  • Orchid Display Case

November

  • Fall Colours
  • Holiday Botanical Displays
  • Mediterranean Garden
  • Cacti and Succulent Collection
  • Breezeway Display
  • Orchid Display Case

Bloom times can vary from year to year as they are influenced by many natural events including temperature and climate. As Please bear in mind that if we experience an early or late spring, bloom times could shift up to 10 days earlier or 10 days later.

  • Horticultural Collections - Bird Of Paradise Bloom
  • Yellow Bunches Of Blooms On European Fan Palm
  • Red Bottlebrush Blooms In Greenhouse
  • Pink And Red Poinsettia Display
  • Spiky Orange Bloom On Cacti

December

  • Mediterranean Garden
  • Cacti and Succulent Collection
  • Breezeway Display
  • Orchid Display Case
  • Holiday Botanical Displays

January

  • Mediterranean Garden
  • Cacti and Succulent Collection
  • Breezeway Display
  • Orchid Display Case

February

  • Mediterranean Garden
  • Cacti and Succulent Collection
  • Breezeway Display
  • Orchid Display Case

Garden FAQ

Directions / Parking

RBG Centre is located at 680 Plains Road W. Parking is available on-site, and parking charges do not apply at this location.

A covered bike rack is available just outside of the main doors, with a second bike rack available south of the building.

This location is also accessible via Burlington Transit, with bus stops within easy walking distance.

Admission

Access to Hendrie Park during regular operating hours is included in your General Admission (payable when you arrive at RBG Centre) or with your Membership.

General Admission also includes access to all other garden areas for the day, and a parking pass to be used at RBG trailheads.

Special events at this location may require separate tickets. Find specific event details at rbg.ca/events

Hours

RBG Centre is open to visitors year-round.

2020 Hours:

  • January 1 to May 9: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • May 9 to September 7: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • September 8 to December 31: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Some holiday hours may apply. See rbg.ca/visitus for details.

How Far is RBG Centre from RBG’s Other Garden Areas?

  • RBG Centre / Hendrie Park to Laking Garden: 1 km / 0.6 miles
  • RBG Centre / Hendrie Park to Rock Garden: 1.6 km / 1 mile
  • RBG Centre / Hendrie Park to the Arboretum: 3.3 km / 2 miles (walking not recommended. Old Guelph Road does not include sidewalks)

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. Please consider driving or biking between locations, or using the shuttle service when available (weekends, spring to mid-summer).

Are there Washroom Facilities Available?

Washrooms are available on the lowest level of the Atrium, by the Greenhouse Café, and in the lower level of the Mediterranean Garden.

Food and Drink / Picnics

The Greenhouse Café at RBG Centre is open for lunch daily. Menu and more at rbg.ca/greenhousecafe.

Outside food is permitted at the gardens during regular hours (restrictions apply during special events). Please pack-out or properly dispose of any waste.

RBG Centre does NOT include indoor tables and chairs for consuming your own provided lunch. Small bistro tables are available outdoors in Hinton Court, to the left after entering through the main doors.

Is the Garden Accessible?

All garden paths indicated on the garden map are either paved or made of finely packed gravel.

Rock Garden includes many original limestone staircases, as well as newer staircases outfitted with handrails. Two paved and sloped pathways around the outer edge of the garden provide access to the lower bowl for those unable to take the stairs.

The lower bowl of the garden includes flat pathways with some arched bridges. Some original exploratory pathways along the inside of the bowl are not accessible for those unable to climb stairs, though much of the garden can be seen from accessible paths and lookout points.

Can I Bring My Dog?

Although dogs are not permitted in RBG Centre (except for working animals), dogs are permitted to enter RBG Centre for the purpose of entering Hendrie Park.

  • Fall Mum And Cabbage Display Breezeway
  • Red Bottlebrush Blooms In Greenhouse
  • White Gardenia Thunbergia Flower
  • Yellow Bunches Of Blooms On European Fan Palm
  • Indoor Breezeway Floral Display Spring 2019