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Aerial view of The Arboretum
Aerial view of The Arboretum looking eastward along Arboretum road with the World of Trees in the centre foreground. The OAC Centennial Arboretum Centre is to the upper left just beyond the formal gardens and before Victoria Woods. Victoria road runs north-south along the top of the image.
Photo by: Henry Kock

Grounds: Open to the Public Dawn to Dusk, Year Round.

Admission to The Arboretum is free! Everyone welcome.

OAC Centennial Arboretum Centre: 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.,
Monday - Friday (Closed Statuatory Holidays)

To obtain permission to use The Arboretum grounds for teaching, research, or other special events, please download a User Request Form.

The Arboretum / University of Guelph Disc Golf Course is in The Maple Collection across from the R. J. Hilton Centre. To obtain further information on the course, please contact the Athletics Department, University of Guelph. Information is also available on their website.

Our Mission:

"The Arboretum, an integral part of the University of Guelph, has a mandate to promote education, research and outreach."
-- (Arboretum Master Plan, December 2004)

The Arboretum at the University of Guelph is somewhat modeled after the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University which is 100 years older.

Plantings started in 1971 and are now maturing to produce a beautiful landscape, within which The Arboretum continues to develop specialized gardens, botanical collections, and gene conservation programs. Labels are maintained at the base of all woody plants in the collections that are listed on The Arboretum map.

The Arboretum spans 165 hectares (408 acres) with 8.2 km of signed trails. Observed at The Arboretum are 38 species of mammals, 188 species of birds, 39 species of butterflies, 18 herptiles (reptiles and amphibians) and 1,700 types of trees and shrubs. Almost every tree and shrub indigenous to southern Ontario is growing at The Arboretum.

The Arboretum offers a pleasant stroll or a study of the fabulous diversity in plants. It is a great place for weddings, dinner theatre or memorial services and dedications. The Arboretum offers Docent-led tours as well as naturalist / horticulturist-led tours throughout the year. A wide array of adult and children's educational programs are also offered covering art, botany, gardening and wildlife.

Without the efforts of over 150 volunteer auxiliary members from the City of Guelph, the University, and financial support of hundreds of people, The Arboretum could not be what it is today. The Arboretum is a significant visitor attraction as well as an important amenity for the citizens of Guelph and Ontario.

Plant Family Collections:

Maples, oaks and beeches, serviceberries, crabapples, birches, viburnums, dogwoods, lilacs, rhododendrons, and the conifers (pines, spruces, firs, cedar, junipers and larches) are presented as a more in-depth display of the genera. In these collections, the emphasis is still on species diversity and includes a range of cultivar selection. The map of The Arboretum will orient you to the location of these detailed plant collections.

Horticultural collections:

Roses, lilacs, serviceberry and dwarf conifers display the extent of horticultural plant selection. The rose collection is significant in that no insecticides or fungicides are used to sustain any plants. This allows visitors to consider which roses would manage well in a pesticide free landscape. The dwarf conifers are presented in their natural form and growth rate and the sculptural variation is quite stunning.

Dwarf Conifer Collection

Dwarf Conifer Collection
Photo by: Henry Kock


A recent arrival to our mammal list, Opossums are becoming more common in The Arboretum.
Photo by: Chris Earley

Of Interest to Visitors and Naturalists:

The site offers a diversity of meadow and wooded habitats that meet the needs of a great variety of wildlife. Winter visitors might see the tracks of opossum, fox, coyote, meadow vole and cottontail in the central area of The Arboretum.

Spring woodland flowers abound as the songbird migration sweeps through. You can stand on a boardwalk 30 cm above water in the middle of a soft maple swamp and gaze into the clear water to watch fairy shrimp and other aquatic invertebrates.

Here are several of the main features of The Arboretum:

1) The World of Trees is our major botanical collection, with over 400 species of woody plants.
2) Free from pesticides, the shrub roses in the Frances Ball Rose Garden continue to bloom.
3) The Leslie Hancock Memorial Rhododendron Collection is in bloom during May and June.
4) The Dwarf Conifer Collection is a texture, colour and sculptural delight.
5) Maple, Oak and Pine collections feature a wide range of species from the northern hemisphere.
6) Wildlife friendly is the theme of the Gosling Wildlife Gardens.
7) The Wall Custance Memorial Forest offers a living legacy of beauty for lost loved ones.
8) A peaceful Zen garden awaits visitors to the David G. Porter Memorial Japanese Garden.
9) In the Edna and Frank C. Miller English Garden you are greeted by two perennial flower beds.

The Arboretum Statistically:
1) The grounds are open dawn to dusk, seven days per week, year round.
2) The Arboretum Centre is open 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., weekdays.
3) 73,500 visitors per year (there is a dogs-on-leash policy to protect wildlife and visitors)
4) 165 hectares (408 acres) with 8.2 km. of signed trails
5) Observed at The Arboretum are: 38 species of mammals, 188 species of birds, 39 species of butterflies, 18 herptiles (reptiles and amphibians).
6) 1,700 different kinds of trees and shrubs (species, subspecies, cultivars, etc.)
7) Almost every tree and shrub indigenous to southern Ontario is growing at The Arboretum.
8) The total number of trees is inestimable, some species are represented by hundreds of specimens.
9) Brochures for self-guided experiences at The Arboretum are available at the entrance and throughout the grounds.

Wheelchair Accessibility:
The Arboretum offers limited wheelchair accessibility in several areas, including:

The Gosling Wildlife Gardens
The Edna & Frank C. Miller English Garden
The Italian Garden
OAC '56 Park in the Garden
The Ivey Trail (section from the entrance to The Arboretum to the OAC Centennial Arboretum Centre only)

The Auditorium in the OAC Centennial Arboretum Centre (which also has a wheelchair accessible washroom located at the barrier-free rear entrance)
The J.C. Taylor Centre (via a ramp, including a wheelchair accessible washroom)

For more information about The Arboretum, or to receive the Seasonal Program or the Green Web Newsletter, Phone 519-824-4120 ext. 52113.

Monthly E-newsletter:
We have an e-newsletter that is e-mailed approximately once per month. If you are interested in receiving this, please send an e-mail to with a subject of "subscribe to newsletter".


Download the Acrobat (pdf) version of The Arboretum map here.

If you don't have Acrobat, click here to download a free version of Adobe Acrobat Reader.

The Arboretum, Ontario Agricultural College,University of Guelph, Guelph Ontario Canada N1G 2W1
519-824-4120 ext. 52113
         © The Arboretum and the University of Guelph