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School of Horticulture: History

In 1885, The Niagara Parks Commission was established to create a public parkland adjacent to the Canadian Horseshoe Falls. By the early 1930s this parkland had expanded considerably, including the Niagara River Parkway which now extended from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario. Feeling the need for skilled gardeners, The Niagara Parks Commission Training School for Apprentice Gardeners was established in 1936.

On June 12th, 1959, the School was renamed The Niagara Parks Commission School of Horticulture. A further name change took place in June 1990, when the School was renamed Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens and School of Horticulture to reflect the level of horticultural development on the School property. In 1993, a long-range Master Plan for the Botanical Gardens and School was completed. Endorsed by the Commission, the $34 million program and landscape development included a new greenhouse production facility as well as North America’s largest Butterfly Conservatory which opened in 1996.

The Niagara Parks School of Horticulture is a family of students, staff and alumni whose passion for the art, science and mystery of horticulture is evident in superior education, research, leadership and stewardship of their gift to the world – the Botanical Gardens.

For individuals with ability and interest in a career in ornamental horticulture, The Niagara Parks Commission offers a unique alternative to post-secondary education. The three-year School of Horticulture Program is a blend of academic and practical work experience offered at the Botanical Gardens located within Ontario’s Niagara Parks.