Inglis Falls Arboretum & Nursery
The Inglis Falls Arboretum is 8.25 hectares and located in the lowland area of the Sydenham River Valley. The original property was purchased by the North Grey Region Conservation Authority in 1961 to protect the valley. The original concept was to plant only the indigenous species that were growing in Grey-Bruce at the time of European settlement. However, exotic plants were finally included because it was thought that they would add interest to the general public. This original section, which came to be known as the Trees of the World, was begun in 1964 under the direction of Alex Haavaniit, a local landscape gardener and nurseryman. A new Conservation Authority Administration Centre was built on the site in 1977.
Inglis Falls Arboretum Alliance (IFAA)
In 2000, an additional 21.5 acres was acquired by the Grey Sauble Conservation Foundation. The Inglis Falls Arboretum Alliance (IFAA) was formed to bring together a group of enthusiastic volunteers to oversee the development of this new section of the Arboretum. A design plan was prepared by a landscape architecture firm in 2001 and included a nursery area for propagation.
The IFAA is entirely self-supported through the generous donations of friends, visitors and plant purchases. Recently, the IFAA obtained a grant from TD Bank to replace and improve the labels and signs along the trail in 2021.
The Arboretum Trail
The Trees of Grey-Bruce Trail features the trees and shrubs native to Grey and Bruce Counties. More than 100 different species are identified in pods along the 1.3 kilometer path. The trail winds around a 1-acre Wildflower Meadow that was extensively seeded in 2017. Benches are available at key viewing sites where interpretive signs explain interrelationships between the plants and wildlife.
To be considered a native species, plants must be indigenous to Grey or Bruce County. Our list of native species includes approximately 120 shrubs, 50 trees and 10 vines. We rely on the publication A Checklist of Vascular Plants for Bruce and Grey Counties as the final arbiter for determining our list of native woody plants. (This publication is maintained by the Owen Sound Field Naturalists.) A plant’s woody status (if it is not obvious) is determined by its inclusion in Shrubs of Ontario (James H. Soper and Margaret L. Heimburger).
Using the Trail
The trail has a hard-packed surface that is wheel-chair accessible in dry weather.
Waste receptacles are available in the outdoor pavilion and washrooms are available in the Administration Building during office hours.
- Take only photos. Leave only footprints. Do not pick flowers, seeds or branches. These are vital to the regeneration of the ecosystem.
- Stay on the trail. Valuable plants are not always obvious. It is our goal to present and preserve them.
- Dogs must be leashed. Please do not allow your dog to leave the trail. We have ground-nesting birds (bob-o-links) and other wildlife that make their home in our fields. Dog owners are required to cleanup and remove dog waste from the property.
- No fires. Barbecues are permitted at Harrison Park which is accessible by trail or a short drive north of the Arboretum
- No litter. Please pack out all litter including cigarette butts and pet waste.
IFAA volunteers embarked on creating the Trees of Grey-Bruce Trail to feature the woody plants that are native to the two counties. Today, what had been once a horse pasture continues to be reforested with native trees and shrubs, including many identified specimens along the trail. A small, dedicated group of IFAA volunteers collect seed and propagate these native plants at the Arboretum nursery. The IFAA volunteers continue to manage the trail and nursery under the auspices of the Board of Directors of the Gray Sauble Conservation Authority.
A primary goal of IFAA is to increase public knowledge and appreciation of indigenous trees and shrubs and their vital ecological role. The IFAA offers guided tours of the Arboretum by appointment. To promote the use of native plants in residential landscapes, native woody plants are available to the public by donation. We also collaborate with the Saugeen Conservation Authority to host the annual outdoor education program for Grade 3 students. Recently, the IFAA has made enhancements to the Arboretum including:
- Wildflower Meadow – located along the Trees of Grey-Bruce Trail
- Pollinator Garden – located at the front of the GSCA Administrative offices
- Woodland Naturalization Garden – located in the Trees of the World section near a memorial bench designed by Owen Sound artist Stephen Hogbin.
- Nursery expansion – located just north of the GSCA Administration Offices on Inglis Falls Road, propagates woody trees and shrubs that are considered native to Grey and Bruce Counties.
IFAA volunteers operate the Native Plant Nursery located at 237897 Inglis Falls Road in Georgian Bluffs, just north of the Grey Sauble Conservation Authority Administration Centre. Trees and shrubs are propagated from local seed and used to reforest the Arboretum. They are also available for educational programs, non-profit groups and to
the general public by donation. Proceeds from the nursery are the main source of fundraising for continuing development of the Arboretum plant collection and programs.
Propagation involves collecting native seed, processing the seed, and storing it in pest-proof cold frames through the winter. As the seedlings develop in the spring, they are potted and moved into the shade house.
Our nursery is managed sustainably. A large rainwater collection system from the barn roof provides our water supply. We obtain compost from a local farm, and re-use pots from local garden centres.
Our regular hours have changed due to COVID-19. Please contact us at nurseryIFAA@gmail.com.
To encourage the use of native plants in residential landscapes, we offer native trees and shrubs to the public by donation. We also make these available to non-profit groups engaged in educational or civic projects. We welcome you to visit us on Saturday mornings or at other times by appointment..
Our volunteers are happy to provide guided interpretive tours of the Arboretum by appointment.
Please contact us at nurseryIFAA@gmail.com
Volunteer with us!
As a volunteer organization, we are always in need of helping hands. Choose your passion!
- Help tend our pollinator and woodland gardens
- Plant and maintain tree and shrubs on the trail
- Locate and collect seeds pot native trees and shrubs
- Lead interpretive tours
- Volunteers are also eligible to serve on the IFAA advisory committee
Contact us via Email
- A Checklist of Vascular Plants for Bruce and Grey Counties ― published by the Owen Sound Field Naturalists
- Field Guide to Trees of North America ― Kershner, Mathews, Nelson and Spellenberg, published by the National Wildlife Federation
- Shrubs of Ontario ― Soper and Heimburger, published by the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto
- Tree & Shrub Gardening for Ontario ― Beck and Renwald, Lone Pine Publishing
- Trees of Canada ― John Laird Farrar, published by Fitzhenry and Whiteside