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Summer Camps

Welcome Back to Camp!

Discovery Camps are about fun, education and respect set in one of the most biologically diverse natural areas in Canada. Spend your summer outside relaxing by a campfire, playing games, and exploring one of the most biologically diverse natural areas in Canada. Royal Botanical Gardens’ Discovery Day Camps are about fun, education and respect that suit the ages, needs and interests of our participants.

Each day of camp holds new and exciting opportunities to enjoy the world outside and make the most of the summer. Each week we create an exciting and varied program that suits the needs of each camp group: by adapting our programming to the natural processes taking place throughout the summer and to the dynamics within a camp group, we are able to deliver an ever-changing camp that will keep campers wanting to come back for more.

Our teams are working hard to prepare for a fun, safe and active camp season.  RBG takes the health and safety of all our visitors, program participants, volunteers, and staff seriously and as such, we are preparing for a summer of fun with adherence to safety measures to ensure a positive camp experience.

By adapting to changing regulations and guidelines, and by making necessary changes as needed RBG is able to manage the risks presented by COVID-19. Please note: the onsite camp’s operation is subject to the organization, municipal, and provincial guidelines in place this summer. RBG will be in touch with camp families with the most up-to-date information regarding health guidelines and our programs.

  • Girls Walking Down Boardwalk In Marsh Credit Markzelinski.com
  • three young children standing on a trail and looking at nature
  • Camp Staff With Children In Circle Credit Markzelinzki.com
  • Educational Field Trip
  • Kids Watching Snapping Turtle In Tank Credit Markzelinski.com

Register for Summer Camp

Registration for Royal Botanical Gardens’ 2022 Summer Discovery Day Camps will be available for registration online on the following dates:

  • RBG Member Pre-Sale*: Monday, March 21 at 11 a.m.
  • Public Registration: Wednesday, March 23 at 11 a.m.

*RBG Members will receive an email with the pre-sale code on the afternoon of Friday, March 18. 

Please note: Summer camp registration is temporarily closed as we begin to process the summer camp waitlist. 

Summer Camp Waitlist

Please note: Summer camp waitlist is temporarily closed as we begin to process the waitlist. 

Summer Camp Descriptions

Browse available summer camps for summer of 2022 below, sorted by age group. Click the camp name for more details including descriptions, available dates, pricing, and more. Select “Download Camp Schedule” for an easy view of camp dates.

Families may choose an extended care option which allows for drop off between 8 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and pick up between 4:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. $10 per day per camper.

Programs for Ages 5 to 6

Programs are developed to meet the age and stage appropriateness of campers within the listed age range. Programs that include canoeing are indicated.

Nature Explorers; Nature Centre

Includes canoeing. Get face-to-face with worms, insects, spiders, and all kinds of crawly things. Use your deer ears and hawk eyes to explore the woods and wetlands that make up an amazing ecosystem. Touch animal pelts and meet one of our helpful turtle teachers. Find out how (and where) the creatures of our forests and fields live. Join us for nature walks, canoe trips, and fun and games as we spend the week learning from and connecting to our natural world.

Full-week camp. Available all weeks of the summer.

5-Day Camps: $300 + service fee

Nature Centre – 16 Old Guelph Road, Hamilton

Forest Adventurers; RBG Centre

The forests and wetlands around RBG are filled with amazing and spectacular things to discover. From tiny flying insects to the majestic bald eagle, the sky is full of winged creatures that call our forest and wetlands home. Come out as we discover the world and lives of the bats and bugs of RBG. Meet the mammals, birds, and insects of the forest and stream face-to-face, and learn about their lives through nature walks, explorations and hands-on fun.

Full-week camp. Available all weeks of summer.

5-Day Camps: $300 + service fee

RBG Centre – 680 Plains Road, Burlington

Programs for Ages 6 to 7

Programs are developed to meet the age and stage appropriateness of campers within the listed age range.

Ecosystem All-Stars; Nature Centre

Includes canoeing. Discover meadows, wetlands, and all the nature RBG has to offer by hiking and canoeing throughout this week of diverse explorations and camp fun. Join us as we seek out the animals and plant life that call our meadows and forests home, and learn more about their lives through stories, songs and games. Act out your favorite insect, learn to run like a squirrel, and craft up a souvenir of your discoveries on the trail.

Full-week camp. Available all weeks of summer.

5-Day Camps: $300 + service fee

Nature Centre – 16 Old Guelph Road, Hamilton

Valley Wonders; RBG Centre

Hendrie Valley, Grindstone Creek and our rich forests and fields provide a fantastic place to learn about the world of the creatures that call our backyard home. Discover the living things found under our feet, in the trees, under rocks, and in the garden! Spot birds with binoculars and get close to some incredible animal neighbours. Come out as we explore the lives of our furry and feathered friends and learn about how we can help them thrive.

Full-week camp. Available all weeks of summer.

5-Day Camps: $300 + service fee

RBG Centre – 680 Plains Road, Burlington

Program for Ages 7 to 12

Programs are developed to meet the age and stage appropriateness of campers within the listed age range.

RBG Combo Camp; RBG Centre and the Art Gallery of Burlington

Join us for an immersive inspirational camp experience. Each morning begins at Art Gallery of Burlington where campers are introduced to up-and-coming artists who will give your child the opportunity to express their creativity through a variety of projects. Art created is based on artists’ medium of expertise (possibilities could include but are not limited to: printmaking, clay, fibre, and mixed media). Beyond broadening their art making skills, students expand their problem solving and analytical abilities and develop aesthetic awareness. Campers hop on our chartered bus and head to Royal Botanical Gardens to spend the second half of each day immersed in the beauty of one of Canada’s most biodiverse areas.

Afternoons are spent exploring and discovering the natural and cultivated lands and sculpture collections of RBG. Campers have the opportunity to hike, play, and learn about the natural world that surrounds us.

Drop off at Art Gallery of Burlington for 9 a.m. Extended care is not available in the morning for this program.
Pick up at RBG Centre for 4-4:30 p.m. Extended care is available in the afternoon for this program at RBG.

Full-week camp. Available:

  • Week 4: July 25 – 29
  • Week 6: August 8 – 12

5-Day Camps: $300 + service fee

RBG Centre – 680 Plains Road, Burlington
Art Gallery of Burlington – 1333 Lakeshore Road, Burlington

Programs for Ages 8 to 9

Programs are developed to meet the age and stage appropriateness of campers within the listed age range.

Wild Wanders; Nature Centre

Includes canoeing. Come out as we explore wetlands, watersheds and wild creatures all while helping to make our ecosystem a healthier place. Experienced educational guides provide the perfect opportunity to get to know the plant and animal species that make up our endangered bioregion. Through games, activities, hikes and participation in active conservation efforts and projects, campers get an up-close experience in conservation, investigation and fun!

Full-week camp. Available all weeks of summer.

5-Day Camps: $300 + service fee

Nature Centre – 16 Old Guelph Road, Hamilton

Adventurous Nature; RBG Centre

Get the most out of the outdoors during these days of discovery, environmental appreciation and outdoor adventure. Our living laboratory provides you with the perfect opportunity to get to know the plant and animal species that make up our bioregion, and how we can protect them. With active games and environmental awareness, these days offer the best of what Royal Botanical Gardens Discovery Camps are famous for.

Full-week camp. Available all weeks of summer.

5-Day Camps: $300 + service fee 

RBG Centre – 680 Plains Road, Burlington

Program for Ages 9 to 11

Programs are developed to meet the age and stage appropriateness of campers within the listed age range.

Get Outside!; Nature Centre

Includes canoeing. Get the most out of the outdoors during these days of discovery, environmental appreciation and outdoor adventures. Experienced educational guides provide the perfect opportunity to hike, paddle, explore and discover our rich ecosystems. This camp includes longer hikes and longer canoe excursions — participants should be physically capable to take part in such activities. Base camp is located away from the Nature Centre in our new covered pavilion, approximately 100 meters from accessible amenities. Campers should be prepared to be outside for their entire camp day.

Full-week camp. Available all weeks of the summer.

5-Day Camps: $300 + service fee

Nature Centre – 16 Old Guelph Road, Hamilton

Program for Ages 10 to 12

Programs are developed to meet the age and stage appropriateness of campers within the listed age range.

Nature Ventures; Nature Centre

Includes canoeing. Ready for a challenge? This camp offers an exciting set of hikes, extended canoe outings on Cootes Paradise, and teambuilding initiatives that prepare you to explore anywhere. Hone group skills through communication, collaboration and teamwork-based activities and challenges.

This camp includes hikes up to 7 km long and up to 3-hour canoe excursions; participants should be physically capable to take part in such activities.

Full-week camp. Available all weeks of summer.

5-Day Camps: $300 + service fee

Nature Centre – 16 Old Guelph Road, Hamilton

Program for Ages 13 to 15

Programs are developed to meet the age and stage appropriateness of campers within the listed age range.

Cliffs to Cootes Adventure Camp; Nature Centre

Includes canoeing. Our most adventurous camp yet! Be challenged, inspired, and excited! Working as part of a team, canoe, hike, and explore, seeing our forests, fields, and gardens in an entirely new way. Develop the skills to plan and lead a hike for friends and family. Base camp is located away from the Nature Centre in our new covered pavilion, approximately 100 meters from accessible amenities. Campers should be prepared to be outside for their entire camp day.

Full-week camp. Available:

  • Week 3: July 18 to 22
  • Week 6: August 8 to 12
  • Week 9: August 29 to September 2

5-Day Camps: $300 + service fee

Nature Centre – 16 Old Guelph Road, Hamilton

Program for Ages 13 to 15: Leadership Development

Programs are developed to meet the age and stage appropriateness of campers within the listed age range.

These fun and educational programs are designed to develop leadership and life skills. Through hands-on cooperative activities, participants explore and learn about teamwork, problem solving, communication and leadership.

Develop skills that will help you in every aspect of life and have a great time being part of a dynamic team. Learn more about yourself and others while gaining valuable work experience and developing skills working with children in an educational environment.

Leaders in Training - 2 week program; Nature Centre

Develop leadership, communication, self-confidence and group management skills through training sessions, hands-on activities and workshops led by our Leadership Development Team. Learn how to successfully lead games and crafts, capture the attention of campers and find out how to make learning fun through motivation and co-operation.
Volunteer hours are not given for this position.

Two-week camp. Available:

  • Weeks 1 & 2: July 4 to 8, 11 to 15
  • Weeks 4 & 5: July 25 to 29, August 2 to 5
  • Weeks 7 & 8: August 15 to 19, 22 to 26

10-Day Camp: $400 + service fee

Nature Centre – 16 Old Guelph Road, Hamilton

Looking for Junior Leader volunteer opportunities? Learn more.

FAQ — Camp Guide for Parents

How Do I Register?

Programs are developed to meet the age and stage appropriateness of campers within the listed age range. Please register your child in the appropriate camp for their age.

Online Registration: Advanced registration is required. The best way to register is to do so online. When available, registration links will be posted here at rbg.ca/camps.

Reminders Before Registering:

  • The fastest and easiest way to register is to do so online at www.rbg.ca/camps
  • Full payment MUST accompany registration
  • Incomplete registration forms ARE NOT PROCESSED – please ensure all fields are filled out accurately

What is the Policy for Cancellation and Refunds?

Royal Botanical Gardens reserves the right to cancel any camp program if the minimum number of participants is not reached. If RBG cancels a camp, registrants are fully refunded. Refunds are not issued for inclement weather. The Friday prior to the registered camp week is the cut-off date for camp refund requests by purchasers.

Summer camp registration change or modification requests must be submitted in writing via email at rbg.ca/contact-camps and will be put in sequence to be processed beginning April 12, 2021. You will receive notification from RBG upon completion of your request.

All changes to camp registration are subject to a non-refundable $25 administration fee.

More than 10 business days before the start of the registered camp week: Full refund less $25

Within 10 business days before the start of the registered camp week: Refund subject to a service fee (full-day camp: $100)

Changes to camp preference or date can be made prior to the start of the registered camp week, and are subject to availability.

What Does a Day of Camp Look Like?

Introductions, expectations, and icebreakers. Camp leaders will give your camper’s group some expectations for the week and let them know what they can look forward to during their week at camp. Campers will play games and participate in activities that will give them a chance to know each other and their camp leaders!  

Discovery. At RBG, the foundation of our programs is inquiry-based and experiential learning. We want campers to ask questions and follow their curiosity. This part of your camper’s day inspires curiosity, discovery, and connection in a natural setting. 

Games. Whether active or cool-downs, reflective or silly, the aim of our camp games is to have fun together. Campers will be able to engage in activities and games that foster a sense of community within their group and connection to the natural world.   

Snack and lunch breaks. Whenever possible, our campers will have snack and lunch outside. Campers will practice proper handwashing before and after meal breaks and will practice physical distancing while eating.  

Hike and nature exploration. Campers will spend time exploring RBG’s trails and gardens, learn about the animals and plants that make their homes here, and take advantage of all that nature has to offer. 

Creative adventures and/or skills sharing. We take time each day to foster your camper’s creativity. Whether it’s learning a skill or diving into their artistic side, your camper will come home from their week of camp having learned something new.  

Goodbyes. The group will wrap up their day with their counsellor, reflecting on the fun experiences they’ve had that day and looking forward to the next!   

What Should My Camper Bring to Camp?

Campers need the following items to be prepared for all activities:

  • To ensure a healthier environment please pack a litterless, nut-free lunch and two snacks from home. Extra masks, drinks or water bottles are encouraged.
  • The Nature Centre is a nut-aware facility. Please ensure that lunches and snacks are free of nuts, nut products and traces of nuts. Snacks that “may contain traces of nuts or nut products” are not permitted. Food that does not comply with our policy will be replaced with a healthy alternative.
  • We are outside in all sorts of weather— please send your child with weather-appropriate clothing including hats, sunscreen, and a refillable water bottle.
  • Please pack a pair of indoor shoes, sunscreen, rain gear, 2 extra masks, and an extra change of clothing.
  • Camp is a time to make friends, learn, and explore all of the wonders of our natural world. To facilitate this, please make sure electronic toys, music devices, video games, trading cards and toys in general stay at home.
  • Please ensure that everything brought to camp is labeled with your child’s name.
  • RBG is not responsible for any items your child loses at camp. Please label all of your child’s belongings with their first and last name and leave all valuables at home. Campers are asked not to bring items of any significant value. RBG does not provide refunds for damaged or lost belongings. Please do not bring electronic devices to camp.

Are There any Restrictions / Guidelines for Food at Camp?

Every camper needs to bring a healthy and peanut / nut safe lunch and snack for morning and afternoon snack breaks, as well as a refillable water bottle to nourish them throughout the day. To help us model good environmental behaviour, please pack a litterless lunch.

Nut Safe Policy: To ensure the safety and enjoyment of all of our campers, please ensure that lunches and snacks are free of peanuts, nuts, nut products and traces of nuts. Food that does not comply with our policy will be kept in your camper’s lunch to enjoy at home. 

Who Are RBG Camp Leaders?

Camps are led by mature, experienced and passionate leaders who have a personal interest in ensuring that your child’s experience is one that will be cherished and remembered for many years. Our leaders are enthusiastic, carefully screened high school, college and university students or graduates. Many leaders and support staff have been with us for several years. These individuals provide a safe and enjoyable environment in which your child can learn, play and have fun. Camp leaders are assisted by supervisors, support staff, and junior staff, resulting in an average leader to camper ratio of 1:8. All of our staff members undergo intensive training that focuses on safety, healthy child development, environmental appreciation/education and program management. All leaders are certified in First Aid and canoeing. All staff members over the age of 18 are screened using local police criminal record checks.

Do you know someone who would be interested in becoming a camp leader? Current opportunities are posted at rbg.ca/careers

What Time Is Camp Available?

All full-day camp programs run Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Drop off begins at 8:30 a.m., pick up ends at 4:30 p.m.

Families may choose an extended care option which allows for drop off between 8 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and pick up between 4:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. $10 per day per camper.

Which Location is my Camper In?

Summer Camp programs are based at one of two locations:

Nature Centre in the Arboretum, 16A Old Guelph Road, Dundas

RBG Centre, 680 Plains Road West, Burlington

Please refer to our camp schedule for all camp locations this summer.

Will my child be in the same group as their friend?

We are happy that your child has another camper they would like to be together with for the summer. Please check in with the child’s family to ensure you have both registered for the same week, same camp group, and the same location. If you have done that, your children will be in the same group. If you haven’t, please register for the appropriate group and email programs@rbg.ca to refund the extra week.

Canoeing at Camp

Some camp programs include canoeing.  Exploration of the natural world by canoe on Cootes Paradise marsh is a highlight of our program for many campers.  It allows our campers to experience and interact with our natural areas in a different, fun, and well-managed way.  Experienced canoeing specialists lead canoe programs which stress comfort on the water, fun, and skill-building.

When on the water our staff and volunteers who have been trained by the Ontario Recreational Canoeing Association or Paddle Canada are in each boat to ensure that everyone has a positive experience.  All canoeing equipment, including personal flotation devices and paddles, is provided and canoers are given instruction on how to canoe and how to remain safe.

Royal Botanical Gardens’ Discovery Camps promote active participation in all activities; however, no camper is pressured to participate in any activity they are not comfortable with. If you do not wish your child to participate in canoeing please notify your child’s leaders and the camp coordinator.

FAQ — Safety and Wellness

Signing Campers In and Out

Camp programs are based at one of two locations. Please make sure you know at which location the camp you have registered for takes place.  

Nature Centre Camps are located in the Arboretum, 16A Old Guelph Road, Dundas. 

RBG Centre Camps take place at RBG Centre, 680 Plains Road West, Burlington. 

Camper pick up and drop off will be in the same location outdoors each day. Only individuals authorized for camper pick up will be able to take their camper home. We check ID to verify authorized individuals for pick up.  

In order for anyone other than the person who dropped off and signed the camper into the program, to sign out and pick up a camper they must show photo identification and must be listed on the child’s registration as either:  

  1. a) a primary caregiver; 
  2. b) an individual authorized for pickup; 
  3. c) an individual listed as an emergency contact. 

The individual must be over the age of 18 years. Any changes to these names on your initial registration must be noted in writing by letter addressed to Liz Jankowski, Education Programs Officer, Camp and Youth Programs and be accompanied by a listed caregiver’s signature. 

Camper drop off and pick up will occur outside regardless of the weather.

Does my camper need to wear a face mask all day?

UPDATE: June 1, 2022 

Effective May 5, visitors and program participants are no longer required to wear masks at Royal Botanical Gardens. Employees and volunteers have the option to continue to wear masks. 

All visitors are required to self-screen prior to arriving at RBG and are not permitted to visit if they are exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms. 

For everyone’s safety, we ask that all visitors are attentive to directional and physical distancing signage while making their way through the Gardens. 

We will continue to follow advice from public health officials and provide further updates as they become available. 

Inclement Weather Policy

Although we are an outdoor based program and campers are expected to come to camp prepared for the weather of the day, there may be times when we will shelter from inclement and extreme weather. The camp group will retreat to an indoor space used exclusively for that camp cohort until the weather event passes. 

Please note: should severe inclement weather last the full day, camp cohorts will be inside for the full day as well. 

Behaviour Management Procedures

Royal Botanical Gardens’ Discovery Day Camps strive to create a positive and safe community through safe, respectful, fun and diverse learning experiences. Communication and coaching are used to ensure that everyone has an enjoyable experience. Behaviour that is seen to go against a positive atmosphere and is seen as unacceptable behaviour is dealt with swiftly and according to RBG’s behaviour management procedures. Campers who, given guidance and opportunities to correct their behaviour, fail to comply with these guidelines, are subject to progressive discipline up to and including having their privilege to participate in camp revoked. Refunds are not given for any camper who is sent home or removed from program for disciplinary reasons.

FAQ — Rights and Responsibilities

of Parents

  • to be observant of signs of distress or suspected negative incidents at camp
  • to report any suspected incidences of physical or emotional violence

of Campers

  • to enjoy the benefits of a safe and inclusive environment
  • to be observant of signs of distress or suspected negative incidents at camp
  • to respect camp expectations as well as the physical and emotional safety of others
  • to report any acts of physical or emotional behaviour against themselves or another camper

of Leaders and Volunteers

  • to be role models in words and actions
  • to be observant of signs of distress or suspected negative incidents at camp
  • to report and record all incidences of physical or emotional violence
  • to handle all situations with compassion and objectivity

Contact and Questions

For questions regarding your registration, please contact our program bookings office at 905-527-1158 ext. 270, or via email using the form at rbg.ca/camps.

For questions regarding programming, or any other camp question that is not answered in the Camps FAQ, please contact the camps office at 905-527-1158 ext. 340