Saving Trilliums in a Community Garden


I’m the coordinator of a Community Garden located on Glen Road South of Bloor across from the TTC station that is the Glen Road exit of the Sherbourne subway station. Glen Road South is being redesigned and the garden and the trees in the garden are to be removed in February or possibly March as part of the redesign.

There are trilliums in the garden.

I would like to know if there are any concerns involved with their removal and/or transplant as I found this information on google:
“ The Floral Emblem Act prohibits, injuring or destroying in any way the plant that produces the trillium grandiflorum, Ontario’s floral emblem, popularly known as the white trillium. It creates an offence for doing so punishable by a fine of not less than $500.”

During my research on Google I found much contradictory information regarding this.

Would appreciate your opinion on this.


Thank you for contacting the Toronto Master Gardeners.

Currently, it is not illegal to pick, injure or destroy a white trillium in Ontario.

The white trillium, trillium grandiflorum, is Ontario’s floral emblem, as noted in the Floral Emblem Act.  However, that Act does not address protection of the trillium and there are no regulations under that Act – regulations set out rules that address the practical application of a law.

I do understand the confusion concerning this issue.

Bill 184, Ontario Trillium Protection Act, 2009, was introduced as a private member’s bill to amend the Floral Emblem Act, but it was not passed.  It made it to first reading, but not to second and third readings (which precede royal assent), so the bill never became law.  That bill included language similar to what you cite above, and would have prohibited picking, digging, pulling up, injuring etc…, the white trillium, and it included a fine of at least $500 for an offence.

Of note, people lawfully carrying out a public work, which presumably would have included city workers, would have been exempted anyway from this prohibition had the law actually passed.

I suggest your garden group contact the city councillor for your area to determine if there is a way to preserve or move the trilliums, and perhaps other plants in the community garden area too, before any construction work begins.  Another avenue to pursue, would be to contact the city parks and forestry departments and ask for their guidance on the issue.  The Toronto Nature Stewards may also be able to help and advise.

Although notoriously difficult to transplant trilliums, it may be worth a try as this spring ephemeral is glorious when in bloom.

Hope this information helps clarify things for you.  Good luck.

January 21, 2024