Tree tour group
Commemorative bench
Tree tour

About the Arboretum

The Aurora Community Arboretum Inc. (ACA or the Aurora Arboretum) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the creation and maintenance of an arboretum for Aurora and surrounding areas. It is managed by its members through a Board of Directors. Many members and volunteers help to regularly maintain the Arboretum with assistance from Town of Aurora staff and various professional contractors.

The ACA is 100 acres of Town of Aurora parkland between Wellington Street to the south and St John’s Sideroad to the north along the valley of the East Holland River. Industrial Parkway North partially borders it to the west.

ACA is an independent volunteer-driven non-profit organization, operating under the Town’s Adopt-a-Park Programme.

With financial support from the Town of Aurora, the Aurora Community Arboretum has become one of Aurora’s natural treasures, an urban oasis. ACA is not a committee or division of The Corporation of the Town of Aurora and is operating under a 10-year contract no. PKS-003-18. All improvements to the Arboretum will become the property of the Town and will then be maintained by the Town.

Funding to build the Arboretum comes primarily from the Town of Aurora as part of its partnership agreement with the Town. As well, ACA provides some funds through its fundraising activities, mainly by memberships and its Commemorative Tree and Bench programme.

ACA also works with the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority, which has environmental responsibilities for the East Holland River and which contributes to the development of the Arboretum; for example, through annual Community plantings done in collaboration with the ACA Board.


The idea for the Aurora Arboretum began in 1995 and it was established in 1996. The primary focus of the individuals working on the project at that time was to plant caliper trees as memorials. These first plantings are located in the valley of the East Holland River, just west of the Aurora Town Hall. After the first few years, the scope and diversity of ACA continued to develop under successive 5-, and then 10-year Adopt-a-Park Agreements with the Town of Aurora.

Tour the Arboretum

Structure & Objectives

Since the beginning, the Aurora Arboretum has been structured as a Not-for-Profit Corporation, chartered in Ontario. (ACA was officially incorporated in 2001.) The corporate structure provides for Members, who elect Directors of the corporation. The ACA Board of Directors are charged with the responsibility of fulfilling the objectives of the corporation.

The objectives are:

  • To establish and maintain an arboretum in Aurora.
  • To establish an educational program which makes known the features and values of this natural and cultural asset to the residents of Aurora.

ACA’s Board worked together with the Town of Aurora, The Region of York and the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority to prepare a more ambitious project encompassing the whole East Holland river valley from Wellington Street to St. John’s Sideroad. A Master Plan was drawn up and presented to Council in 2006 that was approved. In 2007, the ACA and the Town of Aurora agreed to a new, 10 year, Adopt-A-Park agreement to execute the Master Plan for the Arboretum. This was subsequently renewed and the current 10-year partnership runs until the end of 2028.

On its way northward to Lake Simcoe, the East Holland River meanders through a 100-acre (40 hectare) flood plain between the Aurora Sideroad (Wellington Street) to the south and St. John’s Sideroad to the north, with the Industrial Parkway on the west. Like much of the land in York Region, this was forested land before European settlers arrived and actively farmed the area. The ACA sits on traditional territory of the Wendat, Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) and Anishinaabe peoples (see Williams Treaties 1923). ACA aims to help restore some of that former forest grandeur.

Part of ACA is dedicated to formal sports facilities, part is reserved for semi-formal planting of specimen (may become commemorative) trees and the remainder is devoted to naturalized forest, meadow and wetland zones. The Aurora Arboretum is an urban oasis, serving the 55,000+ residents of Aurora and is a draw to the surrounding areas.

Master Plan

The first Master Plan was presented to Aurora Town Council in 2006 and accepted by the Council. The plan is now part of Aurora’s Leisure Services Master Plan. An updated Master Plan was presented to and approved by council in late 2017. It provides the blueprint for the current and ongoing future development of the Arboretum.


In 2013 Jacqueline Stuart, who was then Curator of the Aurora Museum, assembled historical data of the lands that include the Arboretum. We are grateful to the Aurora Historical Society for permitting us to use these materials on the website to enhance your understanding about the history of Aurora and of the Arboretum.


100+ acres east of Industrial Pkwy N, between St. John's Sideroad and Wellington St. E

Aurora Community Arboretum

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