Arb Expo 2021

Events from the 2021 Arb Expo and Virtual Plant Sale Auction are archived below.

"Home" was the theme for our Virtual Plant Sale Auction 2021 edition! We offered some unique plants, with special stories. Thank you to everyone who participated in the 2021 plant sale! If you weren't able to take home a plant this year, we invite you to look forward to our next plant sale!
To get a sense of what plants might be offered in our next plant sale, take a look at the last plant sale inventory, here:

Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021

Virtual Talk
Dr. Suzanne Simard joined the University of Guelph Arboretum community for a virtual talk on her new bestselling book, Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest. Simard is a Professor of Forest Ecology at the University of British Columbia, Simard is a pioneer on the frontier of plant communication, she has been hailed as a scientist who conveys complex, technical ideas for a broad audience. This talk was presented in partnership with The Bookshelf in Guelph and Penguin Random House. 

Participants had the special opportunity to gain deeper insights into Simard's book and life's work by asking her questions. To watch the recording, click on the video box on the left, or visit Youtube.

Art installationSummer and fall 2021. Remains in Association with Cultural Deposits
The University of Guelph's School of Environmental Sciences Artist in Residence, Ron Benner, has created an on-campus art installation by the Harrison House. The art installation titled Remains in Association with Cultural Deposits aims to remind Western society of the history and connection that plants have to their native lands and caretakers. Benner's installation uses a garden and photo mural to represent the history of indigenous farming and plant use. To learn more about this art installation click here.

Benner's art installation will be displayed through Fall, 2021 at the Harrison House, 372 College Ave E, Guelph, ON N1G 3B9.

Friday, Sept. 10, 2021

colour poster for the film Borealis7:30 PM Film Screening
In this new feature documentary Borealis, acclaimed director Kevin McMahon (Waterlife) travels deep into the heart of the boreal forest to explore the chorus of life in Canada’s iconic wilderness. How do trees move, communicate and survive the destructive forces of fire, insects, and human encroachment? Borealis offers an immersive portrait of the lifecycles of the forest from the perspective of the plants and animals that live there. Presented in partnership with Guelph Film Festival

The weather cooperated beautifully for this event! Audience members brought their lawn chairs and blankets over to The Arboretum's west lawn to watch this fascinating documentary. This screening was a fund-raising event for both The Arboretum and the Film Festival. Proceeds from the event were shared between the two organizations. If you missed the film screening, you can watch Borealis here.

Saturday, Sept. 11th, 2021

9 AM Panel (online via Zoom) 
A poster noting the event's descriptionThe University of Guelph Arboretum presented the Ecosystem Restoration panel, a GIER webinar. This dynamic panel discussed the United Nation Decade on ecological restoration, restoration goals for coming years, and examples of international, national, and local restoration efforts already underway. 



Featured panelists:

  •  United Nations Decade on Ecological RestorationRaees Khan, Director of 10BillionTree Tsunami project



  • Mike Rosen, Consultant at Consultation Michael Rosen (Past President of Tree Canada)


  •  Ian Murphy, 2021 UofG grad whose capstone project researched a 40-year old restoration effort in The Arboretum's former gravel pit that was left to naturalize



11 AM  12 Noon Panel
“How to Draw a Tree  (Trees, Mental Health, Creativity)”, multimedia artist Dawn Matheson and guests

Matheson's participatory art project brings individuals living with mental illnesses together with trees for a yearlong creative, care-taking, reciprocal engagement culminating in an immersive public sound walk at the Arboretum in Spring 2022. The work aims to reflect the parallel crisis of mental illness and the environmental crisis by expanding ideas around art and new media, art practice as care, and the interdependency between humans and our natural environment. Hear more about Matheson's process and this project on this radio program, or check out the public Facebook group for the project here. To watch a recording of this panel, click on the video box on the left, or visit Dawn's website.

12 pm-1 pm Music in the Japanese Garden 

In the David G. Porter Japanese Garden, Charles Davidson played the Shakuhachi, a Japanese Bamboo flute, which, like the Japanese garden itself, arises out of Zen and other Japanese traditions and aesthetics.  Both the garden and music invite contemplation.  Please click here to hear a sample.



1:00 PM Walking Tours of the Arboretum - West Lawn.

  •  Sean Fox holding a large leafCurator Tour, Then and Now

John Ambrose and Sean Fox, past and present Arboretum curators, presented a walk through the World of Trees, our gene banks, and see hidden gems along the way. They discussed the growth of these areas, adaptations over 50 years, and some of our future conservation and collection plans!

  • Brad Howie holding a dekay's snakeMtigwaaki 'Among the Trees': A Journey in Anishnaabe Learning in the Arboretum

Brad Howie, Master's candidate in the School of Environmental Sciences and Member of Nipissing First Nation presented a walkthrough of Victoria Woods, discussing his Master's research project and how to approach the forest from an Anishinaabe perspective.

  • Chris Earley and Alan WatsonNaturalist Interpreters Tour, Then and Now

Past and present Arboretum Interpretive Naturalists Alan Watson (also our longest-serving Arboretum Director) and Chris Earley (Interpretive Biologist) gave a tour through The Arboretum's natural spaces. They discussed how are our present-day plants, animals, and habitats different from those in the past. 

Inose/Field Trip
Forest trail with a small opening, in the center of the opening lays a concrete block
Fill up your water bottle, put on some sunscreen, and join us for Inose/Field Trip!

Inose [Ee-no-say] means to walk in a certain way, to a certain place. This 25-minute sound walk is an intimate aural experience emerging from the fertile collaboration between artist Yolanda Bonnell and scientist Dr. Jesse Popp, two Anishnaabe leaders deeply engaged with Indigenous knowledge systems in their different fields. Inose/Field Trip encourages participants to connect with their surroundings, awakening curiosity and the potential for new relationships with the natural world. This project was inspired by a walk in the Arboretum's old-growth forest and can be enjoyed from anywhere.  Visit the webpage to download and access this beautiful sound walk.

A Sense of Wonder
A young girl standing in a dark backdrop. She expresses a sense of wonder through her facial expression and body languageSept 10-11, 2021, Arboretum Centre

Video Installations featuring "A Sense of Wonder" project, commissioned by the Art Gallery of Guelph and produced by interdisciplinary artist Dawn Matheson in collaboration with d/Deaf youth from across Southern Ontario.
"If A Tree Falls"] features footage shot by the Wonder youth in the forest at The Guelph Outdoor School. [ASL and English text] 
"[i carry your heart with me (i carry it in] performed by 9-year-old Guelph resident, Nora Stasinkiewicz. [ASL and English text] 

From Noon to 3 PM, Arboretum Merchandise was available for purchase at Arboretum Centre. 

Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021

Sean Fox and Sarah Farquharson presenting to a crowd in front of a tree9:00 AM-Noon, outdoor workshop (rain or shine), registration required.
Seed Rain: Recognizing and Collecting Native Plant Seeds with Sean Fox and Sarah Farquharson
Diversity is the emphasis of this half-day workshop on ethical native plant seed collection.  Participants toured the incredible grounds of The Arboretum. They looked at hundreds of species of native trees, shrubs, wildflowers, and ferns while gaining experience with seed forecasting and identification, effective harvesting techniques, and ecologically responsible considerations to follow while collecting.  

This was our first in-person workshop since the start of the pandemic, and we couldn't have been happier to welcome participants onto the Arboretum grounds! Sean and Sarah shared their incredible enthusiasm and knowledge of native plant seeds. Participants were wowed by the huge diversity of seeds raining upon them!

9:00 PM Virtual Plant Sale Auction Closed! 

(All events followed campus health and safety guidelines at the time, of course! To attend an organized, in-person event on campus, the University of Guelph required submission of the COVID-19 daily screening form on the day of the event. The university had a vaccination mandate in place for all.)

Historically, the Arboretum’s Plant Sale has been run by a group of dedicated Volunteer Auxiliary members since 1995. Proceeds from the sales have been used to upgrade Arboretum nursery facilities (streamlining of plant production; refurbishing of the Lathe House and the Shade House; purchase of a polyhouse), to build up The Arboretum's Endowment fund, and to help fund the gardens, collections, and reforestation and ecological restoration projects across our grounds. During this pandemic time, we did not have volunteer groups or access to our greenhouse, so our plant sale was virtual again.

Normally, the Plant Sale group welcomes new members throughout the year. If interested in assisting with future sales, please speak to Barb, our Volunteer Coordinator, by sending her an e-mail  or calling her at 519-824-4120 x52358.