Two young people working in a garden

G.R. Paine Horticultural Training Centre

A living classroom

The G.R. Paine Horticulture Training Centre is a 32-acre site where the VIU Horticulture Technician Foundation Certificate program runs. The 5-acre parcel on the southwest corner of the property has southern exposure and is perfect for horticultural activities. Our facilities include "Harnoise Nordique" style greenhouses and a headerhouse, classroom and lab areas. Over time, the property is being landscaped by the Horticulture Technician students as part of their class projects.

The rural setting is perfect for students and the public to study:

  • horticulture
  • landscape design,
  • Landscape maintenance and construction
  • Habitat and vegetation restoration
  • arboriculture
  • riparian vegetation
  • second growth forest ecology
  • historic land-use


The greenhouses are used to grow a variety of plant materials. These include:

  • vegetable starts and bedding plants
  • hanging baskets
  • native and ornamental landscaping plant

We sell the plants produced in the greenhouses to the public to help support the program.

The greenhouse operation practices water conservation. We collect rainwater from the greenhouse roof in cisterns.  We direct rainwater to a pond and use it for irrigation to reduce the centre's use of groundwater. We use integrated pest management (IPM) practices in the greenhouses. We choose pest and disease control methods with the least harmful impact to the environment.


The headerhouse, a large open workspace near the greenhouses, is the main work area. We do soil mixing, seeding and transplanting here. The program uses an automatic Vancouver Bio Machines (VBM) seeding line to seed our forest seedling crop. We also have a Bobcat skidsteer loader for transport of materials and landscaping work. As part of the program curriculum, students complete a skidsteer operators certification course.


We hold most program lab and classroom activities on-site. Our facility has two traditional classrooms and many outdoor and greenhouse classroom learning spaces.

Location, Access and Parking

You can access the Horticultural Centre from the driveway on 2324 East Wellington Road; the road winds along the south side of the property. A large parking area is located on site and is lit in the evenings for security purposes. Follow the road to our main building.

Hours of Operation

Classes are held from 9 am to 3:30 pm, Mondays to Fridays. We hold some classes in a blended format where students study online and in-person. Students care for plants on evenings and weekends based on seasonal crop demands.


Mr. George Paine donated this rural site to Malaspina-University College in 1995. In the 1990s, the Horticulture program facilities on the main campus of VIU, were impacted by the route of the new Island Highway. In 1998, the program was relocated to the land Mr. Paine generously donated. The G.R. Paine Horticultural Training Centre opened in the fall of 1998. The Horticultural Technician program has been operating at the Centre ever since.

George Paine continued to live on the property and run his sawmill until he passed away in early 2009.