Explore Vancouver’s green thumb and meander around some of the Lower Mainland’s sprawling gardens. The city’s climate of mild temperatures and frequent showers kick photosynthesis into overdrive, meaning Vancouver’s green spaces only intensify the organic beauty of the city. Here, a guide to help you decide which garden to visit.
Queen Elizabeth Park
In addition to boasting more than 3,000 trees, Queen Elizabeth Park is famous for being the highest point (501 feet above sea level) within the city of Vancouver. The 130-acre park features an arboretum with both native and exotic trees, the Bloedel Conservatory (the second largest domed greenhouse in North America), and a Quarry Garden that when approached from the park’s rim provides a dramatic view of the manicured lawns and expertly designed flowerbeds.
Location: 33rd Avenue and Cambie St., 604-257-8584
Free park admission; Conservatory: $2.25-$5.60 per person.
Park Hours: Daily 24 hours; Conservatory: Winter: 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Summer: 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
VanDusen Botanical Garden
A garden and cascading waterfall nestled in the heart of a buzzing metropolis are no doubt anomalies. Since opening in 1975 and recently undergoing a revamp, VanDusen Botanical Garden has amassed a diverse collection of more than 7,900 different plant species from six continents. Hailed as one of the most picturesque spots in the city for its Rhododendron Walk and Sino-Himalayan Waterfall, VanDusen provides an unexpected juxtaposition of natural beauty set against a bustling cityscape.
Location: 5251 Oak St. (37th & Oak St.), 604-257-8335
Admission prices vary by season.
Hours vary by month.
Nitobe Memorial Garden
Take a quick trip across the Pacific with the Nitobe Memorial Garden, considered one of the most authentic Japanese gardens in North America. Strategically planted, the garden’s delicately maintained 2.5 acres are regarded as work of art created by gardeners and landscape architects recommended by Japan’s government. In addition to a tea garden and ceremonial tea house, Nitobe also features trees and shrubs native to British Columbia trimmed in traditional Japanese style, azaleas and iris, waterfalls, a reflecting pond and streams.
Location: 1895 Lower Mall, 604-822-6038
Admission: Adults $6, Seniors/Students (13-17) $4.50, Youth (6-12) $3, Children (5 and under) Free admission
Hours vary by season.
Boasting 55 acres, Victoria’s internationally renowned Butchart Gardens are worth the extra travel time. What began as Mrs. Buchart filling in an exhausted limestone quarry to create a sunken garden has transformed into a pilgrimage for nearly 1 million travelers annually. Stroll through the rose, Italian or Japanese gardens and you’ll understand why Buchart has garnered such a reputation.
Location: 800 Benvenuto Ave., Victoria, 250-652-4422
Admission prices may vary by season.
Hours: Open daily at 9 a.m. Closing times vary by season.