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Explore the gardens of Canada’s west coast

Walking along a path through the flowers at Butchart Gardens in Victoria
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British Columbia is the greenest of Canada’s regions and the temperate climate which has produced the towering rainforest is also perfect for cultivating gardens. Combining this climate with a passion for gardens, many places in British Columbia feature extraordinarily beautiful gardens. They range from the huge expanse of Butchart Gardens to simple and elegant Japanese gardens or the serenity of the Dr. Sun Yet Sen Garden in Vancouver’s China Town. Many hotels also have special gardens like the huge gardens at Sooke Harbour House which supply much of the food at this award winning restaurant. 


Vancouver Island features the Vancouver Island Garden Trail with 21 gardens on the route, ranging from the huge and well manicured Butchart Gardens just north of Victoria to Milner Gardens and Woodlands with 70 acres of natural Fir forest and 10 acres of manicured gardens all in an ocean side setting. There are gardens that focus on butterflies and gardens like the Merridale Ciderworks which focus on orchards and offer visitors a chance to see the whole process from flowering apple trees to finished cider.


Further inland, away from the big gardens in Vancouver – Stanley Park, Queen Elizabeth Park and VanDusen Botanical Garden (which hosts a huge collection of outdoor sculptures as well) – visitors will find the Minter Gardens, with its spectacular garden rooms that change with every season, and clever use of water garden features. Even further inland as the climate turns drier it is possible to find gardens featuring cacti, herbs and dry upland plants in the Okanagan. Check out Elysium Gardens or the Okanagan Lavender Herb Farm in this region.


No matter what type of garden you are looking for, Canada’s west coast has something for you – a place to discover new plants and beautiful vistas. Don’t forget your camera!


Gardens at a glance:


Vancouver: Queen Elizabeth Park, Stanley Park, Van Dusen Botanical Gardens, Dr Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Garden


Lower Mainland: Minter Gardens


Vancouver Island: Butchart Gardens, Milner Gardens & Woodlands, Sooke Harbour House, Merridale Ciderworks


B.C. inland: Elysium Gardens, Okanagan Lavender Herb Farm