The Arboretum is treasure trove of nature in the middle of a bustling city. Found on campus, it is a great place to get away from a busy life of school and work. Whether you have only a couple minutes to spare or hours, the trails, pathways and gardens will leave you relaxed feeling in awe.
No matter what time of year you go Autumn, Winter, Spring and Summer there is always something beautiful to see. You can enjoy your time walking, jogging, cross-country skiing, snow-shoeing, bird-watching, having a picnic, meditating, reading or even having a wedding photoshoot.
Planting in the Arboretum started in 1971 and has already matured to create a gorgeous landscape.
If you decide to visit the Arboretum, there are a few things that you will discover and see.
The Arboretum contains 5 gardens and many smaller plantings throughout the area. The gardens are run with low-water systems and with very minimal pesticide usage. The “Garden” consists of the following gardens- The Italian Garden, David G. Porter Memorial Japanese Garden, Edna and Frank C. Miller English Garden and the OAC ’56 Park in the Garden.
The Garden draws you in with its vine-laden arbours. As you are walking from one garden to the other, each garden has its own style, colour and ambience to welcome you right in.
This garden is inspired by famous Italian Renaissance Gardens such as the Villa Medici Roma and the Villa D’Este in Tivoli
David G. Porter Memorial Japanese Garden
This garden is described by the Landscape Architect Christopher Campbell as the “Great Within the Small”. It is surrounded by a beautiful Kenninji-Gaki bamboo fence.The garden consists of a stone bridge that crosses over a pool, and just over the bridge is a small teahouse. The design reflects what would be found in a Japanese garden but with climate appropriate alternatives.
Edna Frank and C. Miller Garden
This garden has a British style of gardening that is quite often seen in North American garden designs.
The OAC ’56 Park in The Garden
This garden is a large lawn covered with 20 specimen trees. The trees were chosen by their shape and leaf appearance to provide the area with a relaxing atmosphere.
Trails and Woods
The Arboretum is home to over 9km of trails! These consist of trails through the woods, the main path, as well as numerous fields, plant collections and gardens. Whether you are one that likes to follow the main path or go off the beaten track, you can find exactly what you’re looking for at the Arboretum.
This is a 2km trail meanders through this woods. Since it once was once an old forest and never clear cut, the ground isn’t flat. Due to the small changes in the ground level, a wide variety of plants have made their home in here. Spring is the best time to visit these woods. Some plants you may see are jack-in-the pulpit, false solomon’s seal, wild ginger and red and white trilliums.
Wild Goose Woods
This 1.5km trail of boardwalks is quite the adventure. In the late winter and early spring, the boardwalk is completely underwater due to snow melt. When there’s no water on the boardwalk, you can lie down on it and look closely into the water. You may see some micro-inhabitants like fairy shrimp or flatworms floating around. If you are lucky enough, you might be able to spot a few mallard ducks, a coyote or some white-tailed deer too.
The Arboretum is full of wildlife, some not even noticeable to the human eye. From bee pollinators to songbirds, chipmunks to deer, rabbits to turtles, the list is endless. Check out The Arboretum Biodiversity website for a list of species you can find. On our trip at the Arboretum we were lucky enough to spot a white-tailed deer and 3 mallard ducks.
If you do spot a deer, stay calm, they are just as scared as you are of them. They might stare at you for a while and just follow you with their eyes, which is quite adorable, but also a bit creepy.
The Arboretum is just the place to be if you are hoping to explore a new world and escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.
If you visit the Arboretum, make sure to take time to appreciate the natural systems around you, and let us know that you visited by tagging us on social media!
The Ladies of Sustainability ❤