Thursday, January 03, 2008

The Arboretum

A large arctic air mass has brought us clear sunny skies and very cold temperatures. This is perfect January weather in my estimation and the ideal conditions for winter walking, snowshoeing and cross country skiing. Yesterday was the last day of my Christmas break from work and I went for a walk in an urban gem in a nearby city.

Guelph, Ontario is home to the Ontario Agricultural College and is now part of the University of Guelph. It opened in 1874 and its programs have expanded greatly over the years. My uncle was a graduate of the college in the 1940's and subsequently worked as a food inspector for the government and also operated the Devins Orchard on the family farm.

On the grounds of the university is The Arboretum, a 165 hectare area with horticultural gardens, botanical collections and gene conservation programs set among old growth forests and meadow ecosystems. There are several kilometers of trail which wind through various gardens and naturalized areas. There is no admission charge to the enter the park and it is easily accessible within the city.

This is a good area for birding and for observing wildlife and wildflowers in season. The administrator for our local birding forum has posted very detailed observations here of birds seen in the vicinity of The Arboretum throughout the year.

A day like this makes up for a week of dull, grey and damp weather!


  1. We did a little snowshoeing ourselves yesterday, but the wind was pretty bitter.

  2. I always love it when temps drop and we get clear skies and sunshine.Our winters are very grey as a rule.

  3. Sounds like an interesting area to walk.-You weren't kidding when you said detailed map of bird sightings!

  4. Guelph! That's where my parents lived for 3 years (1984-87). We visited them several times. Seemd like a very nice plance.

  5. My truck hasn't come back yet so I am dieing to get out snowshoeing or Cross Country Skiing!

  6. I take it you live in Guelph? I spent 18 years in the Niagara Region (w/a year break in Toronto.) There was a great bird sanctuary in Guelph I went to many years ago. Found it on the cartoony map in our motel room. Wish I could remember the name of it. Never before had I seen a wild turkey just 5 feet away!
    Now that I'm in S. Louisiana, however, I have to say I will NEVER miss the snow!

  7. AC- Yes, the wind was cold here too, but the arboretum was sheltered by trees and and buildings to some extent.

    Jean- We get more grey days than bright days for sure and the Great Lakes create a lot of dampness. Those dry arctic air masses a nice change.

    Larry- Yes, we have some very serious birders around here for sure!

    KGMOm- Guelph is a nice, smallish city. Your dad was telling me about his time there. He knew a lot of local landmarks in the region.

    Monarch- I hope your truck is returned soon without too much expense! Hope the snow doesn't all melt with the warm weather that is forecasted.

    Lana- thanks for visiting and commenting. I live about 30 minutes or less from Guelph. I will have to investigate whether the bird sanctuary still is in operation. Never miss snow after 18 years here!? I could do with shorter winters, but our seasonal changes are invigourating.

  8. A bright and crisp winter day is needed after dull, grey days. The arboretum would be a great place to visit for all of nature - during every season. Your photos are wonderful.


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