British Columbia

Victoria and Vancouver: Glorious West Coast Gardens

Discover the botanical beauty of Victoria and Vancouver, where a blend of Asian, First Nation and European aesthetics combine to create some of the world’s most stunning gardens.
Rating (4.95)
Program No. 2679RJ
8 days
Starts at

At a Glance

Cradled by sheltered waters and dramatic mountains and freshened by a gentle coastal climate, Vancouver is a city filled with parks and forests whose gardens reflect the city’s blend of cosmopolitanism, natural beauty and art. Across the Strait of Georgia, on the southernmost tip of Vancouver Island, Victoria’s Edwardian architecture accentuates the city’s Britannic refinement, of which no lovelier example exists than the world-renowned Butchart Gardens. Explore both cities and their gardens, uncovering rich history, natural beauty, First Nations heritage and more.
Activity Level
Keep the Pace
Walking 1-2 miles a day over flat terrain.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 10 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Discover Vancouver’s Van Dusen Botanical Gardens, a classical Chinese Garden and the old growth forest in Stanley Park.
  • Join a horticulturalist who will take you behind the scenes to the elegant Queen’s Gardens to experience Victoria’s colonial past.
  • Explore the renowned Butchart Gardens where some 900 varieties give you uninterrupted bloom from March through October.

General Notes

Featured Expert
All Experts
Profile Image
Joan Looy
Joan grew up on a dairy farm near Butchart Gardens. After university, she volunteered in Africa with CUSO, a non-profit dedicated to improving the lives of people living in poverty. Upon returning to Victoria she created, instructed and coordinated adult career changing programs at Camosun College. During the years she spent at the college she developed a passion for gardening. Approaching retirement, she decided to build upon this interest and create a garden exploration company which seemed a natural fit in “The City of Gardens.”

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image
Joan Looy
View biography
<%= Bio %>
Profile Image
John Adams
View biography
<%= Bio %>
Profile Image
George Baker
View biography
<%= Bio %>
Profile Image
Rania Hatzioannou
View biography
<%= Bio %>
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Exploring Vancouver, The Architectural Guide
by Harold Kalman
In this highly accessible and authoritative guide to Vancouver's architecture, specialists Harold Kalman and Robin Ward take us on a tour of Vancouver's fourteen neighborhoods, exploring the city's rich architectural heritage in over 450 entries. Each entry includes historical, social and architectural commentary accompanied by striking, full-color photographs.
Art of the Northwest Coast
by Aldona Jonaitis
A survey of Pacific Northwest art and artistic traditions from Puget Sound to Alaska, featuring thought-provoking essays by art historian Jonaitis along with 152 illustrations, 89 in color.
The Island Within
by Richard Nelson
A beautifully written tribute to the Pacific Northwest. Drawn from the author's journals, this is an account of the natural and cultural history of an island in the waters of Haida Strait, with emphasis on the relationship between people and the land.
Great Bear Wild
by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. (Introduction), Ian McAllister
A colorful photographic journey through the Great Bear Rainforest that follows the coast from Vancouver Island to southern Alaska; McAllister captures the spectacular landscapes and wildlife, including wolves, whales and bears.
The Last Great Sea, A Voyage Through the Human and Natural History of the North Pacific Ocean
by Terry Glavin, Carl Safina (Introduction)
A wide-ranging conservation history of British Columbia and the North Pacific Ocean. Glavin lives in the Gulf Islands, where he writes frequently about fisheries and environmental issues facing the region.
Northwest Coast Indian Art: An Analysis of Form
by Bill Holm
An in-depth analysis of the form, shape and texture of the art of the Northwest Coast Indians by an artist, teacher and expert in the field, illustrated throughout.
The Gardener's Garden
by Phaidon
With over 1,200 photographs of historical, contemporary, private and public gardens around the world, this gorgeous compendium is an inspiration to both garden designers and garden wanderers. Summary texts provide the design and planting features while the luscious photos tell each garden's story.
Snow Falling on Cedars
by David Guterson
A beautifully wrought, extremely evocative novel set on San Piedro Island in Puget Sound in the 1950s. Readers are rewarded not only with some fine storytelling and beautiful prose, but also with a vivid glimpse of island life.
The Pacific Northwest Garden Tour: The 60 Best Gardens to Visit in Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia
by Donald Olson
Perfect for the traveling gardener, this guide covers the best public gardens in the Pacific Northwest with full-color photos and practical information and history about each destination.
Myths and Legends of the Pacific Northwest
by Katharine Berry Judson
Presented here with 52 photographs, these traditional stories, first collected in 1910, reveal myths and traditions of creation, alongside noted geographical features of the territory.
The West Beyond the West, A History of British Columbia
by Jean Barman
A fascinating history of the Canadian province from the 18th century to the mid-1990s. The author weaves portraits of major personalities and events into a readable overview of the cultural and social influences that have shaped the region.
Down The Garden Path
by Beverly Nichols
This facsimile edition of Nichols' 1932 ode to the pleasures and perils of gardening is an entertaining account of creating a garden, which asks the question: Why Garden?
Vancouver Then and Now
by Francis Mansbridge
This installment in the Then and Now series takes stock of Vancouver’s evolution by placing antique photographs side-by-side with contemporary ones. It peels back the years so that readers can see city fixtures as they once were.
The Raven Steals the Light
by Robert Bringhurst, Bill Reid (Illustrator), Claude Levi-Strauss (Introduction)
A classic collection of 10 Haida myths and legends with accompanying black and white etchings by Vancouver artist Bill Reid. These stories capture the storytelling traditions of the Haida.
Vancouver Birds: An Introduction to Familiar Species
by James Kavanagh
This pocket-sized reference for the bird enthusiast includes illustrations of over 120 species and a map of local birdwatching hotspots.
Bachelor Brothers' Bed and Breakfast
by Bill Richardson
Lake Woebegone goes British Columbian in this humorous slip of a novel about an unconventional Vancouver B&B, which features twin bookworm brothers, a talking parrot and a motley crew of hotel guests.

Click here to provide website feedback
Website Feedback