Home to the mildest median climate in Canada and some of the country’s most admired gardens, it’s no wonder Greater Victoria has been dubbed The City of Gardens. From the hanging baskets decorating the downtown core, to the legacy of the Butchart family, here’s where you can fully experience the City of Gardens.
The Butchart Gardens
What began in the early 1900s as a limestone quarry became a project born out of passion by Mrs. Jennie Butchart. Over decades, Jennie transformed the former land of the family’s industrial operation into a 55-acre garden. Over 100 years later and it is a world-renowned garden with over a million bedding plants in 900 varieties, seeing over a million visitors annually. The gardens have been designated a National Historic Site of Canada.
Spring at The Gardens is a beautiful time as cherry blossoms and tulips dominate the landscape. In summer, be romanced under an archway of roses in the Rose Garden. Autumn brings enchanting shades of reds and oranges to the Japanese Garden and winter offers a time to learn about the history of The Gardens and experience the indoor spring prelude display. Christmas is known as the ‘fifth’ season as The Gardens are transformed by boughs of greenery, lights and a skating rink.
When the weather is warm, a scoop of freshly made gelato in the Italian Garden is the perfect treat. Feeling peckish? Enjoy afternoon tea overlooking The Gardens or a delicious meal at The Blue Poppy Restaurant.
Discover the epic love story between a prince and a commoner that stretched decades, continents and war. Finally united in 1946, Peggy Pemberton-Carter and Prince Abkhazi settled in the neighbourhood of Oak Bay and began to build a beautiful garden together which has become a stunning example of West Coast design. Today Abkhazi Garden is known for its royal roots, spectacular grounds and majestic plants which over the last 50 years have grown to an impressive maturity. Visitors can enjoy the garden year-round and indulge in afternoon tea or lunch overlooking the property from the heritage house, the former residence of the Abkhazis.
The Gardens at HCP
Connecting people with plants, the Horticulture Centre of the Pacific (HCP) is home to the Pacific Horticulture College and presents a year-round garden that everyone can enjoy. This not-for-profit garden is maintained by hands-on volunteers and is an incredible display of the community of garden enthusiasts. Visitors can participate in a self-guided tour or take a 45-minute guided tour for a more in-depth experience. The HCP also hosts a variety of workshops for children 5+ to adults.
Set in the municipality of Colwood, approximately 25 minutes from downtown Victoria, this Canadian National Historic Site resides on 565 oceanfront acres, offering unparalleled views of the Juan De Fuca Strait. Discover the history of Hatley Castle on a guided tour and then take in the Japanese, Rose and Italian gardens at your leisure before wandering along some of the 15kms of pathway through old growth forest.
Beacon Hill Park
Beacon Hill Park is the crowning jewel of Victoria’s public park system. This 200-acre park in the heart of the city offers an urban oasis for visitors and locals. Beacon Hill Park can be enjoyed by all ages as it provides ample foot and cycling paths, as well as playgrounds, a water park, putting green, baseball diamond, tennis courts, cricket pitch, sports fields, lawn bowling, a petting zoo and more! As you meander your way through this gorgeous park, keep your eyes out for the resident peacocks and ducks that can be found enjoying this green space.
Located in the Rockland neighbourhood, this 36-acre property is the official residence of the Lieutenant Governor. The gardens are free to visit year-round, from dawn until dusk, and tours of the house are offered once a month. The grounds include formal gardens as well as a rare Garry oak ecosystem. From May through September, visitors can enjoy afternoon tea and visit the interpretive centre.