Permits are required for any professional photography session (weddings, engagement, family, graduation, etc.) on RBG grounds.
Permits currently available for dates through end of 2023. Early 2024 dates coming soon. Spring 2024 bookings open for registration February 14, 2024.
Photo Credits: MarkZelinski.com (header), Melissa Noelle Photography (1), Captured Memories Photography (3, 4), Fotoflare Photography (5)
About Photography Permits
- 3 hour time slots
- Permit covers up to 20 subjects OR up to 30 subjects (select option upon booking), +4 individual vendors
- 5 garden areas to select from, subject to availability (see guide below for photos and more!)
- Mid-week discount available. Book on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday to save 40%! (holidays exempt from this offer)
Book Your Permit
NEW! RBG has implemented a self-booking service for photography permits. Use the link below to browse available dates, timeslots, and gardens, and to complete your booking!
RBG offers five beautiful garden areas to choose from for your wedding photography. You will be required to select one of the options below upon booking.
Unsure which location is best for you? Join us for a daytime visit before you book! Purchase full garden admission to get access to all RBG garden areas.
Our largest garden area, Hendrie Park is home to a wide array of blooms and architectural features. Pose with the double reflecting ponds, the famous iron gates, fountains, bridges, the Rose Garden, and acres of incredible flowers and plants.
- Outdoor only
- 680 Plains Road W. Burlington
- Highlights: Rose Garden, architectural structures, water features
Hendrie Park + Mediterranean Garden
Along with the beautiful outdoor option, this indoor garden blooms through the winter, and features a koi pond, stairs, benches, cacti and succulent collection, and more.
- Outdoor garden + covered greenhouse
- 680 Plains Road W. Burlington
- Highlights: Rose Garden (summer), architectural structures, water features, indoor Mediterranean Garden
This historic Rock Garden has been recently rejuvenated, home to winding water features, perennial plants and rustic limestone steps. Descend into the lower bowl for a truly unforgettable landscape.
- Outdoor only
- 1185 York Blvd. Hamilton
- Highlights: water features, perennial plants, limestone staircases and lookouts
Set on a fertile terraced plain, formerly a market garden, Laking Garden is home to RBG’s herbaceous perennial collections. A wide plain of iris and peonies, gazebo and terraced landscape make for a truly romantic atmosphere.
- Outdoor only
- 1221 Spring Gardens Rd, Burlington
- Highlights: Iris and Peony collections (June), perennial borders, heritage garden
- Paid parking applies
- Available May through August
The Arboretum features a wide variety of trees and grassy fields. It is especially beautiful in late spring, when the magnolias, lilacs, and crabapples bloom.
- Outdoor only
- 16 Old Guelph Road, Hamilton
- Highlights: Heritage trees, trails, blooming trees and shrubs (spring)
- Paid parking applies
Frequently Asked Questions
When is a photography permit required for photos at RBG?
A permit is required for any professional photography done at RBG.
A permit is not required for amateurs taking photos for personal use, or for general visitors taking photos on their personal devices.
Will there be other guests in the garden that I have booked?
Yes, the gardens remain open to the public during our operating hours. Photography permits do not provide exclusive access to the garden/permit area.
Can I take professional photos anywhere at RBG?
Paid permits are required for professional photo shoots such as weddings, engagements, family, proposals, etc. on RBG grounds.
Timeslots are available for each garden and availability varies based on garden and season.
See the booking link for available timeslots.
How many gardens are included in the permit? Can I take photographs in more than one garden?
Each paid permit allows you to take photographs in the individual garden you have selected. A combination booking of Hendrie Park and the indoor Mediterranean garden is available on select days.
If you wish to use multiple garden areas during your shoot, you may book multiple permits for the same date.
Do I need to purchase a permit if I want to propose to my partner at RBG?
A permit is required if you wish to capture this moment via professional photography. If no professional photographer is present, you may simply purchase garden admission tickets.
Is general admission included in the permit fee?
No additional admission is required for the individuals participating in your photography permit. If you wish to visit other gardens without your professional photographer before or after your permit time, you may purchase garden admission for the other garden areas.
What plants will be in bloom on my permit date?
Bloom times vary from year to year as they are influenced by many natural events including temperature and climate.
Below you will find “average” bloom times / months of interest for several of RBG’s collections using the links below. 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.
What happens if we go beyond our timeslot?
Our goal is to ensure every party can maximize the use of the garden during their allotted time.
We would ask that you plan and schedule your visit accordingly and recommend you arrive near the beginning of your timeslot to ensure you make the best use of your allocated time.
What if we don’t use or need the full three hours?
Permit fees are based on three-hour timeslots, you may arrive any time within the timeslot, though you may not go beyond the end-time of your booking.
Refunds will not be provided if you do not use or do not require the full three hours.
What happens if we miss our booking/timeslot?
Photography permits are non-refundable. Rescheduling is not available, and additional permit purchase applies.
RBG may issue a charitable receipt in the amount of the permit fee.
I would like to take my photos outside the timeslots offered. Can I purchase a permit for an alternate time?
No, permits are only available for the designated timeslots, within RBG’s hours of operations.
How many times can I use my photography permit?
It is a one-time use only permit. You can use the permit for the timeslot and garden you purchased.
If you would like to take photos on multiple dates, you may purchase multiple permits.
What time should I arrive?
You may arrive at any time during your designated timeslot; please plan accordingly to ensure you make the best use of your allocated time.
To make best of your time we recommend arriving near the beginning of your time slot.
Please note that we will not extend your timeslot as that will extend into another group’s reservation, or past RBG’s hours of operation.
How many people are covered in a permit?
A permit allows you to bring 20 guests/individuals to attend your special event.
You may bring up to 10 additional guests/individuals for an additional fee. Please note that the permit for additional guests is sold as a package of 10.
Are vendors included in the group of 20?
You may bring up to a maximum of 4 individuals from your vendor group (e.g. photographer, videographer, wedding planner, etc). This is above and beyond your 20 (or 30) guest number.
I have a large party – can my I switch my group of 20 within the same timeslot?
You may bring more than 20 guests during your timeslot, but you will be required to pay for them.
You may purchase a permit to add up to a maximum of 10 guests.
Are infants counted in our group of 20?
All individuals in your group will be counted.
What happens to my booking if it rains during my allotted timeslot?
What happens to my booking if it rains during my allotted timeslot?
We encourage you to consider the combined booking of Hendrie/Mediterranean if the weather is a concern.
Rescheduling is not available, and additional permit purchase applies.
Is parking included in my permit fees?
Free parking is available for RBG Centre (Mediterranean Garden / Hendrie Park), and Rock Garden. Paid parking is in effect at Laking Garden and the Arboretum. Learn more at rbg.ca/parking
Please note that parking is not guaranteed, and availability may vary during specific events and seasons.
Where can our limousine wait for us?
Limousines can park in designated areas. Limousines are not permitted to idle, and engines must be turned off while waiting for your party.
Space availability for limousines varies for each garden and in some cases, limousines may be asked to leave and come back for pick up.
You will receive specific instructions for your booking in your confirmation email.
Food & Beverage
Can we bring our own food and beverage during our timeslot?
No, external food is not permitted.
You can learn more about RBG’s on-site restaurants at rbg.ca/dine
Can we bring champagne to celebrate?
Outside alcohol is strictly prohibited from being brought on site. Should you be found with alcohol you may be asked to leave and forfeit your photography booking.
Alcoholic beverages may remain in your vehicle.
Can we bring my dog along for the photographs?
Leashed dogs ae permitted in the gardens for your visit and we would ask you to please be responsible and clean up after your dog during your visit.
Dogs must remain on leash and on-trail at all times.
With the exception of service animals, personal dogs/cats/animals are not permitted indoors. Pets are permitted in RBG Centre while accessing Hendrie but are restricted from other areas of the building.
Can I use a drone to photograph my visit?
No, drones are not permitted on RBG grounds.
Can we bring in props to decorate our space for the photographs?
You may bring in handheld props, though they may not obstruct visitors views of the gardens.
Balloons, confetti, bubble machines, and smoke machines are not permitted.
Can RBG cancel our permit or booking?
RBG retains the right to cancel your photography permit with 48 hours notice.
We will make every effort to accommodate you in another garden where available on your preferred date. Where that is not possible, we will work with you to find an alternate date within the same calendar year. Alternatively, RBG may issue a charitable receipt in the amount of the permit fee.
Terms & Conditions
Please read the following terms and conditions carefully before submitting your registration form. The terms and conditions must be adhered to. Please ensure your photographers/videographers and all-party members are informed of and adhere to the terms and conditions. Your compliance is greatly appreciated.
- PERMIT FEE:Your prepaid permit fee, inclusive of fee(s) for additional persons and locations, is non-refundable and applies to all photography at Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG). The permit fee is a one-time user fee and NOT a private room rental fee. RBG has a capacity limit for all locations and time slots.
- GROUP SIZE:The permit fee allows up to 20 people or for an additional fee up to 30 people to pose for photos within your predetermined garden choice and timeslot. In addition to your group, you are permitted to bring up to a maximum of 4 individuals from your vendors (e.g., photographer, videographer, wedding planner). All guests must be paid for in advance.
- CONFIRMING A SPOT:To book a photography permit, RBG requires a completed registration form, along with payment in full. A confirmation email and ticket will be issued confirming your booking.
- PERMIT TIMESLOT & LOCATION:Your selected location and timeslot cannot be changed without prior consent from RBG — no exceptions. If you have chosen a garden option that does not include the indoor garden, we may not be able to provide this garden as a last-minute back-up. If concerned about weather, we suggest that you book the Mediterranean Garden / Hendrie Park option.
- PARKING & ACCESS TO GARDENS:There are parking lots located at every garden property and vehicles should park in designated parking spaces. Parking can not be guaranteed, and parking information will be provided in your booking confirmation. RBG prohibits vehicle access through the service gate entrances. Idling of any kind or parking at entrances is strictly prohibited. Vehicles that do not comply are ticketed or towed.
- ARRIVAL AND SESSION TIME:Upon arrival to your selected location, please check in with kiosk or volunteer staff and have your event confirmation or ticket ready. If members are arriving separately, please have them check in with the name of the booking. All RBG areas are public access (with paid admissions) during regular business hours. To make best of your time we recommend arriving near the beginning of your time slot.
- PHOTOGRAPHY RULES: Our gardens are open to the public and other visitors, including other photography groups, and your activity must not interfere with the use and enjoyment of the gardens by all parties.
- Please do not block garden pathways, buildings, amenities, and entrances. Groups should assemble on open lawns for group photos
- Please do not spend more than 15 minutes at each location, especially feature locations such as fountains, gazebos, etc.
- All persons must adhere to the designated walkways and lawns; please do not climb on garden beds, trees, natural lands, and/or sculptures and structures.
- Photography set-up is limited to a camera and tripod and hand-held props only.
- This photography permit does not provide exclusive access to the permit area, the client is permitted use of the space without exclusivity.
- Please keep speaking to an acceptable level and family friendly.
- PROHIBITED ACTIVITIES: Non-compliance with any of the following may result in termination of your photography permit and/or removal of group or individual(s) off RBG property, and with no compensation owed to the client:
- Use of drones on RBG property is strictly prohibited. Please ensure your photographers/videographers are informed and comply.
- In accordance with the Liquor License Act, it is illegal to bring and consume your own alcohol anywhere on RBG’s property, including parking lots.
- RBG is a smoke-free facility; e-cigarettes, vaping, and cannabis are strictly prohibited.
- Tossing of confetti, rice, glitter, faux or real petals, or any similar material is prohibited. Clients will be responsible for cost of cleaning and any damages.
- Open flames, sparklers, smoke bombs, hazers/fog machines, and bubble machines are not permitted.
- Physical or verbal violence, threats or threatening behaviour, unwelcome sexual advances, or discrimination on any grounds will not be tolerated.
- CANCELLATION: RBG retains the right to cancel your photography permit with 48 hours notice. We will make every effort to accommodate you in another garden where available on your preferred date. Where that is not possible, we will work with you to find an alternate date within the same calendar year. Alternatively, RBG may issue a charitable receipt in the amount of the permit fee.
- RBG NOT LIABLE: In no event shall RBG be liable for:
- Any bodily injury, theft, death or property damage or
- Any incidental, indirect, special or consequential damages, or any loss of use, revenue or profit to the Client, its directors, officers, employees, agents, or guests, arising out of or in any way related to this Agreement.
- INDEMNITY: The Client shall indemnify and save harmless RBG from and against any and all claims, damages, loss, costs and expenses which may be incurred or suffered as a result of or arising out of any injury to persons (including injuries resulting in death) or loss of or damage to property which may be alleged to be caused or suffered as a result of presenting and hosting and operating the Event or by or through any act or omission of the Client or any assignee, agent, contractor, servant, employee, invitee of the Client and against and from all costs, counsel fees, expenses and liabilities incurred in or about any such claims in each case except to the extent caused by the gross negligence or willful misconduct of RBG or its employees, agents, contractors or representatives.
By selecting agreed. I understand and agree that I will comply with the Photography Terms & Conditions and on behalf of all members of my party, including my photography and videography, limo and/or other vendor(s), I agree to adhere to all the Terms & Conditions. Furthermore, I understand and agree that non-compliance may result in, not exclusively, damage charges, additional permit charges for incorrect permit selection, and certain members of and/or full party being removed from the property without compensation owed.