Step into Another World and Let Your Imagination Roam
Victoria, BC is known as the “City of Gardens.” It’s a well-earned title!
You can discover beautiful gardens everywhere – big and small. Find everything from world renowned attractions to hidden gems that even the locals might not know about.
Each garden has its own feel. Some incorporate animals and their habitats to invoke wonder and imagination, some wind paths throughout and provide sitting spaces to draw you into it’s rejuvenating tranquility, while others focus on practicality, research, and education.
Here’s a list of the top 7 gardens to visit in Victoria, BC:
1. Butchart Gardens
You can’t say “gardens in Victoria” without first describing The Butchart Gardens. Arguably one of the best gardens in the entire world, you can expect to capture true Victorian style and beauty here.
Cultivation of The Butchart Gardens began over a century ago when Jeannie Butchart began to transform a ruinous pit left by the cement quarry her husband, Robert Butchart, owned.
Today, you can enjoy a rose garden, Italian garden, Japanese garden, sunken garden, bog garden, Mediterranean garden, monumental fountains, and even a traditional Menagerie Carousel.
The gardens were officially designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 2004 and each year almost a million people visit the gardens.
2. The Gardens at the Horticulture Center of the Pacific (HCP)
HCP aims to provide a natural learning environment, raise awareness of how fragile and important our natural world is, and teach responsible horticulture and conservation practices to visitors, students, and professionals. Open year-round, there is always something to be explored and enjoyed.
Take in the second largest Bonsai garden in Canada. Or walk through over 100 acres of conservation land. There is plenty packed into this hidden gem. In fact, there are so many garden varieties I can’t possibly list them all here.
No matter what time of the year you come, you’ll see something blooming at HCP. The best part though? It’s run by a non-profit organization and admission is relatively inexpensive. Feel free to speak to the volunteers and students working here – they all love telling stories about gardening and horticulture!
3. Beacon Hill Park
Originally called Meeacan, which is the Salish name for belly, this park got its name because First Nations people said it looked like the belly of a fat man lying on his back. The park was renamed when two beacons were lined up to mark Brotchie Ledge.
Beacon Hill Park is the perfect place to take your family. It’s located on the south shore of Victoria, BC, and is comprised of many rare and endangered plants. There are trails, a petting farm, wading pool, water fountains, monuments, playgrounds, and sports fields. In addition, there is a variety of birds and wildlife such as free-roaming peacocks!
It’s absolutely free to enjoy Beacon Hill Park. The Petting Farm has admission by donation.
4. Finnerty Gardens
Finnerty Gardens can be found on the edge of the University of Victoria campus. It is free and open to the public all year. A highly underrated garden that is rarely crowded with people.
The garden began with the donation of Mrs. Jeanne Buchanan Simpson’s estate in 1974. Since the 1920’s she and her husband George had built up a collection of rhododendrons, many from seeds. Their collection was the largest in British Columbia. Visitors can expect these beautiful plants to be in flower from mid-January until late June.
Finnerty Gardens is much more than Rhododendrons. There is a vast collection of perennials, trees, shrubs, and other plants. Something always seems to be blooming here.
5. Victoria Butterfly Gardens
The Butterfly Gardens will transport you to a lush tropical rain forest with flowers, carnivorous plants, vanilla beans, papaya trees, pineapple, coffee beans, and ginger. Look carefully, and you’ll also find poison dart frogs, tortoises, iguanas, flamingos, tropical ducks, free flying tropical birds, giant koi, and of course butterflies!
There are thousands of butterflies from up to 70 species that fly through the indoor garden.
They’ve also recently added a new exhibit called the insectarium where you can look at a number of insects and invertebrates from around the world. Admission is affordable and well-worth the cost.
6. Abkhazi garden
After marrying and moving to Victoria, the Prince and Princess Abkhazi began to cultivate their garden in 1946. This heritage home and garden is host to native Garry oaks, Japanese maples, and rhododendrons over 70 years old, not to mention the heather, irises, and day lilies.
There is also a teahouse which offers a seasonal menu showcasing both regional produce and harvest grown from the Abhkazi Gardens.
7. Government House Gardens
Originally designed by G.K. Maclean in 1911, the Government House Gardens have gone through many transformations throughout the last century. Today, there are a multitude of gardens and features that you won’t want to miss during your visit.
You can view the native plant garden, cut flower garden, orchards, herb garden, rock and alpine garden, rose gardens, winter garden, and a plethora of monuments and ponds.
The Lodge at Weir’s Beach Private Garden
The private gardens at The Lodge at Weir’s Beach provide a peaceful and rejuvenating environment where guests can relax.
There are mature rhododendrons, bottlebrush specimens, fruit trees, and herb garden, a vegetable patch, and a pond. Not too mention spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean. You’ll notice touches of art and whimsy throughout – enough to absorb you into the natural beauty.
If you do come for a garden tour of Victoria, BC – The Lodge at Weir’s Beach is a perfect fit. Enjoy this bed and breakfast surrounded by gardens, ocean, beach, and natural west coast beauty. We book up fast!