Out and about in Vancouver & Vancouver
Vancouver and Vancouver Island BC are must see destinations for plant minded people visiting Canada. The streetscapes, parklands and natural areas of this wonderful region are exceptional.
University of British Columbia – A convenient city bus trip from Vancouver centre, the UBC precinct contains seemingly endless gardens, natural and landscaped grounds, and impressive building architecture and garden art.
Explore UBC’s Botanical gardens including alpine gardens, woodland gardens, forests – both indigenous and exotic, food and medicinal gardens, and a 12 hectare Asian garden. There is also a retail nursery, large botanical bookshop and gift shop, and a veggie/ornamental seed collection.
Lose yourself in the enchanted UBC Nitobe Memorial Garden, considered one of the best traditional Japanese gardens in North America and among the top five outside of Japan. If you enjoy landscape photography, this is the place to master the art.
Descend around 400 stairs through native forest to picturesque and clothing optional, Wreck Beach. This is a lovely and surreal location where you can enjoy local flora, fauna and culture. I spotted several bald eagles nesting in the forest when I was there, seemingly oblivious to people in the area.
And if the hours of meandering builds up a healthy appetite as it did me, sample the local berries and other wild forage foods growing throughout (after correctly identifying them beforehand of course).
Allow at least a full day, preferably two, to enjoy this pristine venue.
Stanley Park, Vancouver BC – Covering a large area of 404 hectares including much of iconic Vancouver city's coastline, Stanley Park is a case of one has to see it to realise its unique beauty. Stanley Park was not architecturally designed – rather, it has evolved as a series of forests and urban spaces since its inception in 1886. Previously, it was used extensively by indigenous peoples for food and shelter.
There are thousands of trees on the site, many of which are hundreds of years old, as well as an array of indigenous and introduced plants. Stanley Park is a lovely venue to enjoy local wildlife, art, history, culture and countless vistas to the city skyline.
Historic Butchart Gardens, Vancouver Island – Butchart Gardens, covering 22 hectares and including the famous sunken gardens built atop an old limestone quarry, were originally created over a century ago by owners Jennie and Robert Pim Butchart. The property was designated a historic site of Canada in 2004.
This gorgeous expanse of formal and informal gardens, currently maintained by 50 gardeners, utilises colour, form and garden ‘rooms’ to perfection. Through thoughtful selection, these gardens have something to offer visitors year round.
There are several cafes from which to enjoy the gardens, as well as a popular fine-dining restaurant that sources food and wine from the local region.
And if you are after more technical information, there is a plant identification centre run by the particularly knowledgeable staff.