By definition, an Arboretum is 'a place where many kinds of trees and shrubs are grown for exhibition or study'- David B. Guralnik, ed., Webster's New World Dictionary, 2nd college edition (Toronto, 1970), p.71). The word is Latin in origin and is derived from the root word arbor, which means tree.
Encompassing approximately 12 hectares, the land where the existing Arboretum and Administration Centre are now located was purchased in 1961 and 1962 by the then North Grey Region Conservation Authority. The property was purchased to protect part of the scenic Sydenham River Valley. This site was recognized as an ideal location for an arboretum because of its deep, rich soils and its close proximity to the City of Owen Sound.
By 1964, planting had begun in earnest, with both native and exotic species being planted. Shelterbelts of Austrian Pine and Norway Spruce were established along the northern and western boundaries.
In 1973, the site was chosen as the new location of the Conservation Authority Administration Centre and by 1977, the building was complete. With assistance from the Owen Sound Horticultural Society, species were inventoried and nametags put on the trees for public education.
There are currently 60 different species of trees and shrubs represented in this Arboretum through over 256 individual plants. Of this, 36 species are native to Ontario.
In 1995 the Georgian Bay Garden Club donated a Butterfly Garden to the Grey Sauble Conservation Authority and maintain it still. The Grey Sauble Conservation Foundation initiated a Memorial Forest Program in 1997, and through this program a commemorative tree is planted each year in the Arboretum.
Click Map Below to View Tree Species of the Arboretum
The Arboretum is connected by hiking trails to Harrison Park in Owen Sound and to Inglis Falls Conservation Area. The Sydenham River is right down the trail, providing great opportunities to watch various species of salmon during spawning seasons. Washroom facilities are available at the Administration Centre during business hours (Monday to Friday, 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM)