Thur., December 1st, 2022 to Tues., February 28, 2023.

It is already December which means once again the Urquhart Butterfly Garden, in partnership with the Hamilton Conservation Authority, is holding a Winter Photo Contest. Please see the poster below for submission guidelines.

You may take your photographs in Canal Park (including from the observation platform) as well as in the Urquhart Butterfly Garden.

There are only two categories:
Birds and Other Wildlife – identification required  
Natural Winter Scenes – includes plants, landscape shots and etc.

Wildlife is easier to see in the winter.  There are dozens of little Hooded Mergansers in the canal right now and a lot of other bird life.  The beavers have been busy, and you will see one if you are observant in the early evening.

Please remember that when you submit your pictures in February, you must include your name, address, and phone number.

Best of luck to all!


A link to the entry form may be found HERE:

ALL submissions are due by 11:59 PM Tues., February 28, 2023. Late submission will not be considered.

All photos entered (up to 3 per category) may be entered using a single form. Repeat submissions will not be considered. Any questions please contact:


There are many excellent digital resources for help with plant and wildlife identification. Fortunately, most are free of charge.

Winter Plant identification is difficult, at times impossible, and is therefore optional for the winter contest. We have included a plant ID link for any interested in broadening their natural history knowledge.   

Correct identification of birds and all other wildlife is required and can be accomplished with the resources provided. Incomplete or incorrect identifications are factored into the judging process.

As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out to for ID hints if you are truly stumped.

Hamilton Naturalists’ Club Birding Checklist:
Download a free checklist to the birds of the Hamilton Study Area (HSA), a circle with a 40 km radius centered on Dundurn Castle.

The All About Birds website, Cornell Lab of Ornithology:
Read species accounts and compare similar species. Also Links to the Merlin Bird ID App.

The Merlin Bird ID App:
Upload photos for AI assisted identification. A caution: While Merlin is often correct, it is in development and may result in errors. It will typically point you in the right direction but treat it as a starting point.

The Sibley eGuide to Birds App, Version 2:
Comes at a cost of $19.99 but also serves as a traditional field guide. Hard Copy of the Sibley Guide also available.

Bug Guide:
Upload photos for ID help or browse entries


iNaturalist Canada (plants, birds, insects, mammals):
An excellent resource for ID help and storing observations. Works better with a (free) registered account but can be used without.

Summer Education Series 2022

Bees, Bees, Bees – A Free public workshop

Jenna Braun

Saturday August 27, 10 am.

Jenna and her able assistant will be back by popular demand on

Saturday August 27, and no one knows bees like Jenna.  When one thinks of bees we tend to think of the honey bee, however there are 800 bee species in Canada if which over 400 are in Ontario.

Our native bees range in size from the 25mm carpenter bee to the tiny 5 mm solitary bee, and many of the species can be found at the Urquhart Butterfly Garden and you can see them up close and personal with Jenna.

Numbers of native bee are in serious decline, due to habitat loss and land fragmentation plus the use of pesticides.  Unfortunately 12 bee species have recently been added to creatures at risk in Ontario.

Native bees are our most important pollinators, so there is cause for great concern when species are declining. They not only pollinate wildflowers but also the crops we eat.   Listen and look on Saturday 27 as you learn more about the many bee species at the Urquhart Butterfly Garden, and find out how you can help encourage bee preservation, even if you only have a balcony.


There is lots of free parking and the site is conveniently accessible by bus or bike. Please bring a chair and wear a hat – you will spend an hour in full sun.

The event will NOT proceed in the event of rain.

For more information contact: Joanna Chapman, 905-627-8917


Summer Education Series 2022

Birds of Urquhart Butterfly Garden and Canal Park

Bill Lamond

Free Workshop Saturday August 13th at 10am

Bill Lamond is a well known Ontario Naturalist and an exceptional birder who can identify the many birds that are seen at the Urquhart Butterfly Garden and Canal Park.  

Join Bill for this Nature Walk where he will be able to share tips for identifying birds and interesting notes about their lives and migration. Bring your binoculars because Bills’s eagle eyes might spot some rare species

 Bill is not only an expert in birds but also in herps, moths, butterflies, dragonflies and plants.  This nature walk is sure to keep you entertained.

The session is free and open to all.  You are requested to bring a chair and wear a hat. You will spend 1 hour in the full sun of the garden and Canal Park.  The event will be cancelled in the event of rain.

The Urquhart Butterfly Garden is immediately adjacent to Centennial Park and the Hamilton Air Force Association at 128 King St. E in Dundas.

There is plenty of free parking and the location is easily accessible by public transportation or bicycle.

Sponsored  by the Dougher Foundation & Hamilton Naturalist’ Club

For more information contact:

Joanna Chapman

Summer Education Series 2022

Dragonflies & Their Kin

Brenda Van Ryswyk

Free Workshop Saturday July 30th, at 10 am

Brenda Van Ryswyk is a Natural Heritage Ecologist and a well known dragonfly expert.  Brenda will lead a walk through the garden where she will share her knowledge on the astonishing lives of dragonflies & their kin.

Dragonflies & Damselflies (Ondonata) are quite astonishing creatures that you may have noticed hovering in the garden or zipping through the air.  As we walk through the garden Brenda will share her knowledge while she shows how to locate and identify dragonflies & their kin.

The Urquhart Butterfly Garden is adjacent to water and is an excellent location for dragonfly viewing. 

The session is open to all, and you will leave with a new knowledge and understanding of dragonflies and damselflies (Ondonata) at the Urquhart Butterfly Garden.  Saturday, July30th at 10 am.

Please bring a chair and wear a hat as we will spend 1 hour in the full sun of the garden. The event will be cancelled in the event of rain.

The Urquhart Butterfly Garden is immediately adjacent to Centennial Park and the Hamilton Air Force Association at 128 King St. E in Dundas.

There is plenty of free parking and the location is easily accessible by public transportation or bicycle.Sponsored  by the Dougher Foundation & Hamilton Naturalist’ Club

Monarch Butterfly – added to the Endangered Species List

What would Fred and Norah Urquhart say?

On Thursday July 21, 2022 the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) added the Monarch Butterfly to the Endangered Species list.  This is a tragedy that could and should be stopped.

The Urquhart Butterfly Garden – the first Municipal Butterfly Garden in Canada – pays tribute to the lifelong research of Butterflies and their migration by Fred and Norah Urquhart.
Over 38 years of tagging Monarch Butterflies, starting in 1937 with Fred, culminated with the 1975 discovery of millions of Monarch butterflies in the Neovolcanic Plateau, Mexico.  This is where eastern butterflies over winter.  Just imagine these beautiful delicate creatures undertaking such an arduous journey!

What would the Urquharts say now?  
I think the Urquharts would say “let’s get to work!  We must save the Monarch from extinction “

What can you do?  Let’s get to work!
* Plant milkweed, and native plants such as asters, goldenrod and coneflowers.  Monarchs depend on the nectar for energy. 

* Lobby your councillors to ensure road allowances are full of native plants including milkweed.

* Never use herbicides or pesticides.
* Encourage and support community native pollinator gardens.  

* Stay informed.

2022 Summer Photo Contest

The 2022 Summer Photo Contest begins June 6th and ends on September 6. Previous posts provide the information you will need to participate in this exciting annual summer contest. When you are ready to submit your pictures please use the form found via the following link.

If you have any questions regarding the form or wish to submit your photos in another way please send queries to:

We look forward to seeing you in the Urquhart Butterfly Garden.

2022 Summer Photo Contest

Black Swallowtail (photo credit Michelle Sharp)

2022 Urquhart Butterfly Garden Summer Photo Contest

The 2022 Urquhart Butterfly Garden Summer Photo Contest kicks off on June 6th and runs through Labour Day Weekend to September 6th.

Photographers of all ages are eligible for cash awards in four categories:

  • Butterflies and Moths
  • Insects, Spiders and Bugs
  • Birds and other Wildlife
  • Plants & Flowers

Fancy Camera equipment is not needed.  Many great photos have been taken with cell phones.  What is required is patience and a good eye for an interesting photograph.

The Urquhart Butterfly Garden is full of life!  Butterflies are already being seen daily, including Monarchs and Mourning Cloaks.  Look closely and you may see young rabbits, garter snakes sunning themselves, and tiny voles popping out between the rocks.

Between June 6th and September 6th when you visit the Garden you will see a variety of beautiful flowers and plants which support the lives of butterflies, insects and birds.

The Photo Contest begins June 6th and ends September 6th.  Entry information and rules will be available at the Urquhart Butterfly Garden or can be viewed on the Urquhart Butterfly Garden website at:

The Urquhart Butterfly Garden is located between Centennial Park and Canal Park at the end of the Desjardins Canal.  Parking is available on King Street East at the entrance to the Garden.



Joanna Chapman & Nancy Wylie – Coordinators Urquhart Butterfly Garden

Joanna: Phone 905-627-8917 (evenings)       Email:

Nancy:   Phone 905-962-4601 Email: