The ArbNet Arboretum Accreditation Program and The Morton Arboretum are pleased to announce that the Fryfogel Arboretum in Shakespeare, a village in Ontario, Canada, has been awarded a Level I Accreditation. By achieving particular standards of professional practices deemed important for arboreta and botanic gardens, the Fryfogel Arboretum is now recognized as an accredited arboretum in The Morton Register of Arboretum and is the first to receive accreditation in Canada.

The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.” — Nelson Henderson


In the spring of 2010, the Foundation set up a Fryfogel Site Development Committee, chaired by Reg White, that proposed creation of an arboretum on the five acre (2 HA) site surrounding Fryfogel Tavern to plant trees and shrubs indigenous to Ontario. Stratford Field Naturalists joined in choosing trees, shrubs and plants that would create a natural habitat for many forms of wildlife, including birds, bees and butterflies.

Mission Statement

The Fryfogel Arboretum seeks to engage, educate and encourage visitors to become better stewards of nature and the environment. This mission entails stewardship of the tavern and arboretum that treats both as gifts to future generations.

Goals for the Fryfogel Arboretum Project:

• To re-establish native plant communities that reflects the pre-settlement species once found on site;
• To establish habitat for native birds, pollinators and small mammals;
• To provide public education about the natural heritage of The Fryfogel Property and Perth County;
• To provide passive recreation opportunities on site.


On September 27, 2014, the Foundation recognized the contribution made by Anna Meusel, who for close to 15 years served as master gardener and steward of the Fryfogel Heritage Garden. Earlier in the year, the Foundation welcomed Peter Mansbridge, CBC News Chief Correspondent, as Honourary Patron of the arboretum.

Design of the arboretum owes much to students from the Landscape Architecture Department at the University of Guelph. Friends of the Arboretum volunteers worked tirelessly to bring the arboretum to life and make it the success that it is today.

View the 2013 Fryfogel Tavern Swiss-German Four Square Heritage Garden Plan

The Fryfogel Arboretum gained international recognition in 2014 when it was added to a worldwide listing of arboretums maintained by the Morton Arboretum near Chicago, and has been placed on an international Monarch Waystation Registry by Monarch Watch in the United States.

Commemorative tree plantings

Commemorative tree plantings have served to heighten awareness of the arboretum and the need to preserve our natural habitat.

Swiss Consul of Ontario Bernadette Hunkeler Brown was among a large number of dignitaries who planted commemorative trees at the arboretum during 2012. The Thames Valley Swiss Club planted a tree and performed on Swiss Alp horns at this event.

The arboretum continued to expand with commemorative trees added by Ian Forest, Warden of Perth County; descendants of the late Honourable Nelson Monteith; Elizabeth Halliday and her family, who joined us in celebrating the life of  Dr. Bruce Halliday, M.P. for Oxford County. The Stratford Rotary Club provided funding for two beech trees.

Still others arrived from the Ontario Trillium Foundation; the Ontario Heritage Trust; the Royal Botanical Garden in Burlington; and, brothers Robert and Stuart McTavish planted a tree after funding from the Donald McTavish Environmental Fund secured a grant from the Stratford Perth Community Foundation.

Commemorative plantings got underway in 2011 when John Wilkinson, MPP for Perth Wellington, planted the first tree at the arboretum in June that year. Three members of the Fryfogel family — Glenn, his son Randy, and Randy’s son, Tanner — installed a tree in honour of Sebastian Fryfogel. Others were planted by the Manager of the University of Guelph Arboretum and Joe Farwell, Chief Administrative Officer of the Grand River Conservation Authority.


Sponsoring a tree

Individuals and organizations may wish to sponsor a native tree  to commemorate loved ones or celebrate special occasions. Family name or that of your organization, type of tree and date planted, all will appear on a plaque at the foot of your tree. For more information, please call Reg White at 519-273-0952.

Grants and other support

In 2011 the Arboretum committee received its first financial grant from the Evergreen Foundation in Toronto. Other grants came from the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation and the Stratford and Perth Community Foundation. A grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation in 2012 covered the cost of drilling a new well that supplies water throughout the arboretum.The Stratford Perth Community Foundation awarded a second grant for development of the arboretum in 2013. Other grants were received from TD Friends of the Environment and the Ontario Trillium Foundation.

The flags of Canada, Ontario and Switzerland now wave from three stainless steel flagpoles donated and installed by the Swiss Club of Thames Valley. The Shakespeare Optimist Club donated two cedar picnic tables earlier.