Pacific Ocean vistas and the North Shore Mountains make a spectacular backdrop for the attractions of Vancouver, British Columbia. Beauty is also found in parks and gardens throughout the city. Here are seven delightful Vancouver gardens to explore.
1. Stanley Park Gardens
In addition to beaches, forests, First Nations art, and diverse habitats in Vancouver’s popular Stanley Park, you’ll find several gardens. Rose Garden displays create bursts of color from March to October. The garden’s flower beds contain over 3,500 rose bushes, climbing clematis, perennials, and annuals.
The Rock Garden, created from 1911 to 1920 by master gardener John Montgomery, was neglected after World War II and gradually disappeared. Its rediscovery began when Chris Hay, Montgomery’s great-grandson, began researching his family history and damage from a 2006 windstorm revealed portions of the garden. Hay worked to restore the garden, now recognized on the Canadian Register of Historic Places.
Blooms are not the focus of a third garden in the same vicinity. The Shakespeare Garden features trees mentioned in Shakespeare’s works. Plaques affixed to the trees display their appropriate quotes.
The extensive collection of hybrid rhododendron and azalea plants in the Ted and Mary Greig Rhododendron Garden is at its peak during the first two weeks of May, but you’ll find something blooming any time between March and September.
Use this digital map to identify locations of the gardens and nearest parking lots. Entrance to Stanley Park is free.
2. Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden
Located in the heart of Vancouver’s historic Chinatown, Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden is an authentic representation of a Ming Dynasty-style garden. Unique rock forms, 150-year-old miniature trees, lush plants, winding paths, a pagoda, and a pond with koi fish create a peaceful oasis. The garden is accessible, but note that the Jade Water Pond is uncovered and without railing.
There is an entrance fee for the garden, but the adjacent Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Park, designed as an extension and complement to the garden, is free for everyone to enjoy.
3. Van Dusen Botanical Garden
Opened in 1975 on the grounds of a former golf course, Van Dusen Botanical Garden contains over 8,000 plant species and varieties from around the world. Paths meander in and out of unique garden areas containing native and exotic plants. You’ll find perennials, formal flower beds, naturalistic ponds, ornamental grasses, a stone garden, vegetable gardens, and trees from around the world. Features include an Elizabethan maze, totem poles, a colorful Korean pavilion, and large wooden and stone sculptures.
With cheerful spring flowers and cherry blossoms, vibrant summer blooms, stunning fall colors, and a muted winter palette dotted with winter berries, Van Dusen Botanical Garden offers something to enjoy in every season. See what is in bloom throughout the year here.
There is an admission charge. An onsite parking lot offers free parking. Accessible paths are clearly marked on the Visitor Guide Map.
4. Queen Elizabeth Park And the Bloedel Conservatory
Queen Elizabeth Park, located at the highest point in Vancouver, offers spectacular views. The park also contains a 1,500 tree arboretum, a rose garden, and two beautifully landscaped quarry gardens. The gardens are wheelchair accessible by following a marked path but note that some sections have a significant incline.
In the domed Bloedel Conservatory at the center of the park, you’ll find over 500 species of plants from around the world, a variety of parrots and macaws, and a multitude of other birds including finches, waxbills, canaries, and brightly colored pheasants.
Entrance to the park and gardens is free, but the Bloedel Conservatory has an admission charge. Pay parking lots are available throughout Queen Elizabeth Park.
5. UBC Botanical Garden
Bordered by forest and ocean, the University of British Columbia’s Vancouver campus is a beautiful setting for Canada’s oldest university botanical garden. The UBC Botanical Garden features plants from temperate regions around the world and has a significant collection of wild-collected species. Its many garden areas include a rainforest garden, an Asian garden, a deciduous hardwood forest, an alpine garden, a Garry oak meadow and woodland garden, an edible garden, and a physic garden containing important plants from early European drug-making days planted around a central sundial. A series of other small special-interest gardens and naturalized areas dot the grounds.
Adventurous spirits who wish to get up into the trees can walk the trail of suspended walkways between trees in the Greenheart TreeWalk. Note that at some points the bridges are as high as 75 feet off the ground.
Much of the garden is accessible by wheelchair or motorized cart, but some pathways are irregularly graded and topped with wood chips or loose gravel. There is an entrance fee and an additional charge for the Greenheart TreeWalk. There are also charges for parking on campus. The campus is well-served by public transit.
6. Nitobe Memorial Garden
The Nitobe Memorial Garden, affiliated with the UBC Botanical Garden, is also located on the University of British Columbia campus. Nestled in two acres of native forest, the Shinto-style stroll garden is considered to be one of the most authentic Japanese gardens in North America. Imported Japanese plants and native trees and shrubs, trained and pruned in typical Japanese fashion, create a peaceful oasis. The counter-clockwise design follows the way of the moon and represents a symbolic journey through life. Stone lanterns symbolize light dispelling darkness. Often placed at the junction of paths, they also indicate choices in life.
Use one of the available brochures to guide you on your symbolic journey through the garden. Benches offer opportunities to sit and relax in the beauty of your surroundings. The garden has an entrance fee.
7. UBC Rose Garden
Located on top of a parkade at the northern edge of the University of British Columbia campus, the UBC Rose Garden offers dramatic panoramic ocean and mountain views in addition to dazzling and aromatic rose bloom displays. Pathways take you past beds of hybrid tea and floribunda roses laid out in geometric designs. Roses grow up bowers at the edges of the garden. Relax on one of the benches to enjoy the beautiful display and stunning views.
Entrance to the Rose Garden is free. Peak blooming time is June through September.
Gardens worldwide are popular attractions for many travelers: