skip to content


Find us on Facebook
Find us on Pinterest
Find us on Twitter
Thunder Bay Food Strategy
Safe Cycling Thunder Bay

Rain Gardens

What is a Rain Garden?

A rain garden is a landscaped depression that will soak up rainwater runoff from the roof of a house or garage, or other hard surface like a parking area. The rainwater is absorbed into the soil instead of flowing into a storm drain that empties into our local streams. Rain gardens are often planted with wildflowers or other plants that provide homes and food for birds and insects.

 Rain gardens absorb rainwater, so they can help:

  • recharge our groundwater
  • protect neighbourhoods from flooding and drainage problems
  • keep our streams clean by reducing the amount of polluted stormwater that goes into streams from storm drains
  • provide habitat for birds, butterflies and insects.
Click here for more information on the 2020 Rain Garden Rebate Program.


Looking for ideas and inspiration to create your rain garden?  Scroll down to view local examples, and click here to visit our Facebook gallery for more rain gardens in Thunder Bay.





This professionally-designed and installed rain garden owned by David Noonan features a meandering cobble swale that conveys rainwater into a larger basin bordered with vibrant maiden pinks, black-eyed Susans, purple coneflower and cascading groundcover. Pieces of driftwood, larger boulders and a flagstone pathway give this rain garden a rugged, coastal feel. Other plant varieties in our yard include the springtime ephemeral Solomon’s Seal and mid-summer blooming orange poppies. During heavy rains, it’s a joy to watch this rain garden divert and soak up rooftop runoff that would otherwise run down our driveway and into the municipal sewer system.





The rainwater from Michelle Rea's house roof travels from the downspout via perforated weeping tile and into her rain garden, where runoff is captured and temporarily stored as it soaks into the soil.  The inlet is surrounded by cobblestone, which disperses incoming water, preventing soil erosion and washout of plants and mulch. A cobble outlet (bottom left) allows excess water to flow out during a heavy storm if the rain garden reaches capacity. Gardens like this protect our streams by reducing the volume of rainwater runoff that travels along hard surfaces, collecting contaminants along the way. The majority of urban runoff flows into storm drains, which empty directly into nearby streams and rivers.  




Ellen Berger's rain garden redirects run off at the front of the house away from the driveway and over the front walkway. In order to support the downspout over the walkway, she installed an arbor which also supports a flowering vine and acts as the entrance into the front garden. A re-purposed rain barrel catches the water from the downspout and the overflow is channeled to the rain garden via a dry creek bed.  The garden faces east and gets over 8 hours of sun, so she had a varied selection of native plants to choose from. The soil is sandy, so the planting areas were amended with compost and triple mix. Purple coneflower, bee balm, black eyed Susan and some grasses are featured in this garden.

 The Rain Garden Rebate program is funded by the City of Thunder Bay and administered by EcoSuperior.


562 Red River Road,
Thunder Bay, Ontario
P7B 1H3
Due to COVID-19 social restrictions, our office is currently closed to the public.
We are offering curbside pick-up through our online store.

Temporary phone hours:
10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday to Friday. 

Phone: 807-624-2140

calendar of events VOLUNTEER at EcoSuperior Make a DONATION