Title: Dreamers, Schemers, and Builders: An Introduction to the History of Royal Botanical Gardens

Date: April 13, 2023
Time: 7:00pm - 8:00pm
Registration required: Register Here!

Royal Botanical Gardens is both Canada’s largest botanical garden and a group of important natural areas totalling over 1,000 ha. Its origins are a complex and fascinating story with roots in plans to beautify Hamilton during the First World War. Thomas Baker McQuesten, a Hamilton politician and lawyer, developed the concept for a botanical garden of national significance in Hamilton after visiting RBG Kew and RBG Edinburgh in 1924. With others on the city’s Board of Park Management he worked to promote the idea, acquiring the first land in 1927. By 1934 Hamilton had more land in parks than any other city in Canada; much of it would later become RBG. Following completion of the first gardens in 1932 and incorporation in 1941, new gardens were built, new programs added, and additional natural areas protected. As a not-for-profit organization RBG promotes education, culture, science, and the protection and appreciation of plants and nature. We will stroll through the last century as we look at RBG’s antecedents in Canada, the formation of RBG itself, and the trends and personalities that brought the gardens into bloom.


Dr. David Galbraith
Head of Science, Royal Botanical Gardens (Hamilton and Burlington, Ontario)

David completed his B.Sc. and M.Sc. at University of Guelph, and his Ph.D. at Queen’s University at Kingston, in wildlife biology. After two years in the UK and another two in Quebec he joined RBG in 1995 to develop conservation projects among botanical gardens across Canada. In 2006 he was named head of science, overseeing the library, archives, and herbarium, RBG’s own research, and use of RBG’s lands and resources by outside researchers. Since 2007 he has led the development of the Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System park alliance, for which he was named Hamilton Environmentalist of the Year in 2010. David has always had a deep love of biology, history, cultural heritage, and the arts. Through his work with RBG’s own archives he’s become the institution’s informal historian. David is an adjunct biology professor at McMaster University, a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, and a Fellow International of the Explorers Club.

This is a FREE online event, hosted over Google Meet (Link will be provided in the registration confirmation email).

This event is hosted by the Thornhill Historical Society.

Register Here!