Development of the University of Guelph Arboretum began in 1970 when the Board of Governors approved a master plan. This plan dedicated 330 acres of campus property to provide a living laboratory for research and teaching at U of G, and an important resource for the community and the province.
With a mandate to promote education, research and outreach, the Arboretum currently includes almost every tree and shrub indigenous to southern Ontario in an area covering 165 hectares (408 acres). Collections of interest include World of Trees (family representatives of the Northern Hemisphere), Native Trees of Ontario and a variety of theme gardens. The grounds are open to the public year-round, dawn to dusk, and include more than 8 km of trails, which are ideal for walking or jogging.
The Arboretum is a member of the American Professional Garden Association, Botanic Gardens Conservation International, Canadian Botanical Conservation Network, and the Canadian Biodiversity Network.
The Arboretum offers a variety of programs, workshops and special events as well as self-guided, interpretive and group tours throughout the year. The interpretive and group tours can be tailored to your group’s specific interest if required. Being immediately adjacent to campus the grounds offers students and faculty a convenient and diverse site for teaching and research purposes.
The OAC Centennial Arboretum Centre, located on the Arboretum grounds, is a popular venue for weddings, banquets and conferences set amidst a developing cultural forest.
Arboretum Gene Bank: a living gene bank of more than 20 species of rare Carolinian woody plants in Ontario. Gene Bank orchards are now producing seed that will assist in the restoration of these species where they are in decline.
Elm Recovery Project: started in 1998 the project is a long term initiative including identifying, surveying and sampling large elm survivors across Ontario, with the objective of developing an open pollinated orchard of new generation elm trees that exhibit genetic resistance to Dutch Elm Disease. At present we have over 1800 large elm survivors from across the province in our database.
Ontario Tree Atlas: a survey of Ontario's trees, both planted and naturally occurring, to track their distribution and relative abundance. Data was collected over a four-year period by over 1,000 volunteer participants and is now in the final stages of tabulation.