Famous Burlingtonians

Dr. Leslie Laking - Horticulturalist

Leslie Laking was an eminent horticulturalist who joined the staff of the Royal Botanical Gardens in 1946, rising to its directorship in 1954. Throughout his life, he consistently promoted the idea of botanical gardens as educational museums. Upon retirement in 1996, he was appointed Director Emeritus of the RBG. He was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1979. He received an honorary doctorate from McMaster, where he had taught botany part time for 30 years, and also from the University of Guelph. In 1998, he was inducted into the Hamilton Gallery of Distinction. Dr. Laking passed away in April 2011.

Royal Botanical Gardens puts nature’s beauty on display, but it isn’t a park system.  It teaches, but it isn’t a school. It protects and preserves forest and marsh, but it isn’t a conservation authority.  It collects and propagates botanical knowledge and plant life, but it is not a library, museum, or laboratory. It is all those things and more than their sum.