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Nature Sanctuaries

Royal Botanical Gardens’ 1,100 hectares is dominated by 900 hectares of nature sanctuaries enveloping the western end of Lake Ontario. The properties and activities are regulated by the Royal Botanical Gardens Act and supporting bylaws.

These lands form a Nodal Park within the Niagara Escarpment World Biosphere Reserve (UNESCO) and the heart of the Cootes to Escarpment Ecopark System. With more than 750 native plant species, 277 types of migratory birds, 37 mammal species, 14 reptile species, 9 amphibian species and 68 species of Lake Ontario fish, the area is an important contributor to ecosystems that span international borders.

On the Trails

The sanctuaries feature more than 27 kilometres of scenic walking trails. The four main trailheads include Princess Point, the Arboretum, Cherry Hill Gate, and Rock Chapel, as well as two canoe launch sites (Princess Point & Valley Inn). The 31 trails include multiple lookouts, boardwalks, and 21 stream crossings, as well as links to other regional trails, providing access to birds and butterflies, canoeing, the Fishway, heritage trees and a diversity of wildflowers.

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Conservation Projects

It is our mandate and challenge to protect these lands as an ecological legacy for future generations by balancing the needs of wildlife with more than +400,000 visitors who walk our trails each year. To ensure preservation of species, 20% of the property is without trails, protected within core areas called Special Protection Areas, one of a number of conservation initiatives. Each Special Protection Area has associated lookouts allowing the visitor to appreciate the vistas and diversity of life found within.

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Support Conservation at RBG

These conservation projects are possible thanks to the generous support of RBG Members and donors. With a donation to Growing up Green, you can ensure an active, vibrant and healthy future for the children of today and tomorrow through our horticultural and conservation projects.