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The Full Story 

  It all started in 1927....

At the turn of the 20th century, Thomas Gould left $3,000 of his estate to the Hamilton Zoological Society for a specific purpose "to make the Dundurn Park Zoo more attractive for little children". The money was invested while the Society pondered its use. In May, 1927, when the sum had grown to $5,000, the Society decided to remodel the animal house at the Zoo and turn it into an aviary. The Hamilton Parks Board agreed to do the work and the Society agreed to find the birds.

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The Rocky 90's

In 1992, the "Friends of the Aviary" took over the daily care and needs of the Flock and the aviary ceased to be a city program. In the summer of 1995, with extensive historical restoration efforts at Dundurn Castle, it became apparent that the birds would not be returning to their home of 70 years.

Fortunately, the Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG) site known as the Teaching Gardens was being vacated. Because of the many features suited to the Aviary at this location, the City and the RBG agreed to a multi-year lease and the Aviary was moved July of 1996; indoor enclosures with outdoor flights were built.


Today, we are Canada's oldest public aviary

The Hamilton Aviary continues to provide sanctuary to tropical birds who have been displaced through no fault of their own.

Using the volunteer bond, The Hamilton Aviary is able to advocate for exotic birds, rehabilitate and retrain them, and educate and foster a deeper knowledge of what these beautiful creatures are truly capable of. All for the love of birds.


Towards an exciting future!

Towards an exciting future!

In 2020, an anonymous donor generously gifted the Hamilton Aviary $1 million to rebuild a new home for the flock. This amazing gift will transform the aviary into a new community hub where people can gather to enjoy the wonders of our birds but also participate in vital conversations about environmental impact, species preservation, and the responsibility Hamilton and the world holds towards biodiversity and the welfare of all living things. 

With the $1 million gift secured, the Hamilton Aviary can focus our attention on securing a location for the new building and our flock, and kicking off a campaign that allows the community to choose what they want their aviary to be. 

The Hamilton Aviary is a non-profit organization run 100% by volunteers, The Friends of the Aviary. Together, our volunteers, our donors and our supporters, strive to ensure that the Flock receives the love and care it needs to thrive. Show your love of birds today and donate!

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More Changes!

Unfortunately, our $1 million donation had conditions around specific usage and timing that we were unable to meet. As a result, we are obligated to return the funds.


Volunteers did our best to try to secure more funding through grants and look for land we would be able to transform into a new aviary location, but we were unsuccessful. The City opted to rehome the birds, so we all got to work finding them the best homes possible. 


The City facilitated some meetings with The Toronto Zoo and Bird Kingdom, both of whom stepped up to offer some of our birds new forever homes! 


While some birds are being adopted by volunteers, many will remain ambassadors at other organizations for bird care and education.


Looking towards the future, we hope to pivot to a remote, foster-based organization and be able to take in more displaced birds in the future! 

Our Partners

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