Going Green: Vancouver’s Great Gardens
Vancouver’s moderate climate creates an ideal environment for a wide assortment of plants, trees and flowers. Want proof? Explore the natural splendor of the city’s many public gardens.
On the site of a former rock quarry 501 feet above sea level — Vancouver’s highest point — sits Queen Elizabeth Park. The wedding-photo magnet fills 130 acres with gathering spaces, recreation facilities, an arboretum, a conservatory and the Quarry Gardens — colorful collections of plants and flowers, many selected because they thrive in the dry environs of the setting. Winding paths, charming bridges and waterfalls add to the area’s appeal.
Within Vancouver’s Chinatown neighborhood is the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden — the first of its kind created outside China. Built using traditional materials, tools and techniques, the garden recreates the type of serene space that scholars enjoyed during the Ming Dynasty. The garden’s design strives to establish harmony among its key elements: weathered rocks; jade-green water; mystical plants; and stunning Chinese architecture.
A horticultural theme park, the 55-acre VanDusen Botanical Garden boasts dozens of plant groupings — each representing a particular ecosystem, geographical area or other motif. Highlights include bamboo stands, giant redwood trees, and hundreds of varieties of rhododendrons. It’s a particularly family-friendly site, thanks to its Children’s Garden (featuring funny-looking flowers and plants) and an ever-popular hedge maze created with 3,000 pyramidal cedars.
On the last Saturday of each month from late spring through early fall, you’re invited to a traditional Japanese tea ceremony held within the Nitobe Memorial Garden at the University of British Columbia. The site — open year-round for peaceful strolling and contemplation — mixes plants imported from Japan with native Canadian trees and shrubs that have been shaped using traditional Japanese pruning techniques. Seasonal attractions include cherry blossoms in spring, irises in summer, and maples in the fall.