Run as a tri-partnership between Humber College, Toronto and Region Conservation, and the City of Toronto, the Humber Arboretum is a 250 acre botanical garden and nature conservation area in North Etobicoke. Tucked behind Humber College’s North Campus and wrapped around the western branch of the Humber River, the Humber Arboretum connects the urban with the natural.
Extensive horticultural collections are focused near the front of the grounds. From the main entrance, follow curving paths around ponds, over bridges, and past beautiful wood and stone structures to discover the themed gardens and beds of the Humber Arboretum. There is an extensive collection of bulbs and spring flowering trees, along with 20,000 flowering annuals planted each year. Theme gardens include a summer cactus garden and the purples and whites of the Garden of the Rising Moon. Learning gardens include All-America Selections displays and a new bird-friendly garden being created in partnership with Bird Studies Canada.
The arboreal collection continues throughout the grounds. The shade tree collection includes a variety of beech, maple, oak, ash, lilac, horse chestnut, willow, and nut species, while evergreens include spruce, pine, false cyprus, juniper, cedar, yew, and hemlock. Explore and discover labeled specimens from around the continent and around the world, including a large dawn redwood.
As you move deeper into the Humber Arboretum on the forest trails, you’ll be surrounded by species of the Carolinian bioregion, including shagbark hickory, black walnut, and pin oak. Look closely for fascinating fungi and charming spring ephemerals; visit in February or March and you might spot sap collection buckets hanging from maple trees in the sustainably-run sugar bush. A section of the forest has been designated an Environmentally Significant Area (ESA) by the City of Toronto.
Natural areas also include meadows and wetlands, and the riparian areas around the Humber River. Keep an eye out for wildlife all over the grounds, such as white-tailed deer, beaver and muskrat, snapping turtles, and a variety of birds including hawks, owls, nuthatches, warblers, and red-bellied woodpeckers.
Throughout the year, educational programming is run out the Centre for Urban Ecology, a LEED Gold Certified building offering stunning views of the grounds. Summer and March Break day camps for kids, gardening workshops, bird-watching events and more are offered to the public.
The Centre for Urban Ecology is also available for private rental and is often used for corporate and non-profit events. The grounds are a popular spot for wedding and other commercial photography; contact the CUE to inquire about obtaining a permit.
The grounds are open during daylight hours, year-round. The Centre for Urban Ecology is generally open from 9 am to 4 pm Monday to Friday, although hours can vary with special events. Parking is available on the Humber College campus – it is free on weekends but during the week college parking visitor rates will apply. The Humber College North Campus is accessible by public transit, and the Humber Arboretum is connected to the City of Toronto’s West Humber River Valley paved trail.
The grounds are open during daylight hours, year-round;
The Centre for Urban Ecology is open 9am-4pm, Monday-Friday