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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 (5)
Program No. 2679RJ
Length
8 days
Starts at
2,199
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.
Length
8 days
Starts at
2,199
Program No. 2679 RJ
Prefer to enroll or inquire by phone? 800-454-5768
climate
Plan ahead.
What kind of weather can you expect? Take a look!
itinerary
Please Note:
The itinerary for this program is different on certain dates.
Select your type of room
Price will update based on selection
Prices displayed below are based on per person,doubleoccupancy.
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
May 18 - May 25, 2021
Starting at
2,199
Itinerary Note

On this date, stay at Best Western Sands in Vancouver and Coast Victoria in Victoria.

Jun 15 - Jun 22, 2021
Starting at
2,199
Itinerary Note

On this date, stay at Best Western Sands in Vancouver and Royal Scot in Victoria.

Jul 6 - Jul 13, 2021
Starting at
2,299
Itinerary Note

On this date, stay at Best Western Sands in Vancouver and Royal Scot in Victoria.

Jul 13 - Jul 20, 2021
Starting at
2,299
Itinerary Note

On this date, stay at Best Western Sands in Vancouver and Huntingdon Manor in Victoria.

Jul 20 - Jul 27, 2021
Starting at
2,299
Itinerary Note

On this date, stay at Best Western Sands in Vancouver and Royal Scot in Victoria.

Aug 3 - Aug 10, 2021
Starting at
2,299
Itinerary Note

On this date, stay at Best Western Sands in Vancouver and Royal Scot in Victoria.

Sep 7 - Sep 14, 2021
Starting at
2,299
Itinerary Note

On this date, stay at Best Western Sands in Vancouver and Huntingdon Manor in Victoria.

DATES & starting prices
PRICES
May 18 - May 25, 2021
Starting at
2,799
Itinerary Note

On this date, stay at Best Western Sands in Vancouver and Coast Victoria in Victoria.

Jun 15 - Jun 22, 2021
Starting at
2,799
Itinerary Note

On this date, stay at Best Western Sands in Vancouver and Royal Scot in Victoria.

Jul 6 - Jul 13, 2021
Starting at
2,929
Itinerary Note

On this date, stay at Best Western Sands in Vancouver and Royal Scot in Victoria.

Jul 13 - Jul 20, 2021
Starting at
2,929
Itinerary Note

On this date, stay at Best Western Sands in Vancouver and Huntingdon Manor in Victoria.

Jul 20 - Jul 27, 2021
Starting at
2,929
Itinerary Note

On this date, stay at Best Western Sands in Vancouver and Royal Scot in Victoria.

Aug 3 - Aug 10, 2021
Starting at
2,929
Itinerary Note

On this date, stay at Best Western Sands in Vancouver and Royal Scot in Victoria.

Sep 7 - Sep 14, 2021
Starting at
2,929
Itinerary Note

On this date, stay at Best Western Sands in Vancouver and Huntingdon Manor in Victoria.

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
Rania Hatzioannou
Rania Hatzioannou has a passion for anything and everything Vancouver – history, politics, people and the ever-changing urban landscape. Rania studied political science and broadcasting, and has collected a variety of certificates in related fields. Having worked as a photojournalist while traveling, she always enjoyed coming back to her hometown. Rania has served on a variety of boards and committees helping to build stronger communities, organizing festivals and creating safe neighborhoods. She believes strongly that Vancouver’s greatest assets are its wonderful people.

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

Profile Image of Rania Hatzioannou
Rania Hatzioannou View biography
Rania Hatzioannou has a passion for anything and everything Vancouver – history, politics, people and the ever-changing urban landscape. Rania studied political science and broadcasting, and has collected a variety of certificates in related fields. Having worked as a photojournalist while traveling, she always enjoyed coming back to her hometown. Rania has served on a variety of boards and committees helping to build stronger communities, organizing festivals and creating safe neighborhoods. She believes strongly that Vancouver’s greatest assets are its wonderful people.
Profile Image of 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.”
Profile Image of John Adams
John Adams View biography
John Adams is the author of “Old Square-Toes and His Lady: The Life of James and Amelia Douglas.” Part historian and part storyteller, John has turned a passion for the past into a long career in history. His family-owned business, Discover the Past, provides a variety of historical educational programs for the community. His natural, lively, humorous and clear style makes his presentations both informative and memorable.
Profile Image of George Baker
George Baker View biography
George Baker grew up in Brazil and Argentina, then moving to Toronto in 1956. After graduating from the University of Toronto, he began his advertising and public relations career. He was eventually drawn to the west coast and joined the British Columbia Civil Service in Victoria for 25 years. Following his work at the EXPO he joined the B.C. Office of Protocol, where he helped managed State Visits including Her Royal Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip. In his retirement, George sharing his love of Victoria.
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.
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8 days
7 nights
16 meals
7 B 4 L 5 D
DAY
1
Check-In, Registration, Welcome Dinner, Orientation
Vancouver, BC
D
Best Western Plus Sands Hotel

Activity note: Hotel check-in begins at 4:00 pm.

Afternoon: Program registration begins at 4:00 pm. After you have your room assignment, join us at the Road Scholar table in the lobby to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing the up-to-date schedule that reflects any changes, other important information, and to confirm the time and location of the Orientation session. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in.

Dinner: Enjoy a welcome dinner at 6:00 pm in the hotel.

Evening: Orientation. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. Periods in the schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

DAY
2
City Field Trip, Nitobe Gardens, UBC Botanical Gardens
Vancouver, BC
B,L,D
Best Western Plus Sands Hotel

Activity note: Getting on and off a motorcoach. Walking for approximately 1 mile (1.6 km).

Breakfast: A buffet breakfast including hot and cold options will be provided by the hotel. Coffee, tea, and water are included.

Morning: Explore Vancouver’s downtown core and notable neighborhoods by motorcoach with a local expert while travelling to the Nitobe Memorial Garden at the University of British Columbia (UBC).

Lunch: Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Explore the Nitobe Memorial Garden with an expert. The garden is designed as a traditional Japanese Garden and celebrates the memory of Dr. Inazo Nitobe (1862-1933), who strove to create an understanding of Japanese culture in the West. Visit the UBC Botanical Gardens and learn about plants from all over the world, and wander through a variety of gardens including a woodland garden, food garden, and Carolinian forest garden.

Dinner: Dinner will be served at a local restaurant.

Evening: Enjoy the evening at your leisure.

DAY
3
Stanley Park, Chinatown, Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden, Free Time
Vancouver, BC
B,L
Best Western Plus Sands Hotel

Activity note: Walking up to 1 mile (1.6 km) on pavement and stone walkways, some periods of standing.

Breakfast: A buffet breakfast will be provided by the hotel.

Morning: Explore Stanley Park by motorcoach while listening to a lecture conducted by one of the park’s Ecology Society members. Learn about this National Historic Site, including the parks variety of hemlock, cedar, and fir trees, and explore the encircling stone seawall while marveling at the ocean and mountain vistas.Next we visit the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, named after the man considered the father of modern China. This garden is the first Chinese “scholar’s” garden built outside of China and is an authentic representation of the garden tradition that reached its peak in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).

Lunch: Taste local cuisine at a nearby restaurant.

Afternoon: Free Time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Evening: At your leisure.

DAY
4
Van Dusen Botanical Garden, Ferry to Victoria
Victoria, BC
B,D
The Huntingdon Manor

Activity note: Getting on and off a motorcoach and ferry. The ferry to Victoria is 24 nautical miles and takes approximately 1.5 hours; participants will be responsible for boarding and disembarking the ferry with their luggage. Walking up to one mile (1.6 km) on paved paths and groomed trails. Some standing, and stairs with railings.

Breakfast: A buffet breakfast will be provided at the hotel. Coffee, tea, and water will be included.

Morning: Discover the VanDusen Botanical Garden with a local expert. This 55-acre garden features a Scottish shelter in the Heather garden, a hexagonal Korean Pavilion, and an Elizabethan Maze made of 3,000 pyramidal cedars.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like on the ferry.

Afternoon: We'll transfer by coach and ferry from Vancouver to Victoria. A local historian will join us on the coach to provide an overview of the picturesque and historic seaside capitol of British Columbia. We'll learn about forces that shaped Victoria and gave it its old British charm. We will check into the hotel late afternoon. Take some time to become familiar with the landscape in the area or freshen up and relax before dinner.

Dinner: Dinner will be served at the hotel.

Evening: At your leisure.

DAY
5
Horticulture Centre, Beacon Hill Park, Free Time
Victoria, BC
B
The Huntingdon Manor

Activity note: Getting on and off a motorcoach. Walking 1.5 miles (2.4 km) on gravel paths, and mostly flat ground.

Breakfast: Enjoy a buffet breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: Visit the Horticultural Centre of the Pacific with a gardening expert. This non-profit gardener’s garden is devoted to conservation, research, and life-long learning. There are more than a dozen specialist and seasonal gardens cared for by staff, students and volunteers. Explore Beacon Hill Park, a Victorian Park which includes bridges, lakes, ponds, and an alpine garden. A local expert will walk the grounds with us as we see the numerous species of ducks, birds, and peacocks which roam the grounds of Garry Oak, Arbutus, Douglas fir, Western Red Cedar, birch and maple trees.

Lunch: On your own.

Afternoon: Free time. You might like to take a walk along historic Government Street, have tea at one of the numerous tea houses or the spectacular Empress Hotel, or explore Inner Harbour.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy local fare.

Evening: At leisure. You might like to continue exploring local sites, take a horse-drawn carriage ride or harbor ferry exploration, explore Beacon Hill park, walk along the seaside trail, just relax.

DAY
6
Inner Harbour Walk, Butchart Gardens
Victoria, BC
B,L,D
The Huntingdon Manor

Activity note: Walking up to 3 miles (4.8 km) on pavement, packed gravel, and some uneven ground; standing during field trips.

Breakfast: A buffet breakfast will be provided by the hotel.

Morning: A local expert will introduce us to the Butchart Gardens. Learn about the history of the gardens, and the garden’s namesake, Jennie Butchart. Investigate Victoria’s Old Town and Inner Harbour on foot, and see the Victorian architecture on display on Wharf Street, the historic Empress Hotel, as well as the British Columbia Parliament buildings.

Lunch: Taste local cuisine at a nearby restaurant.

Afternoon: Explore the Butchart Gardens, a National Historic Site with 55 acres of floral displays and expansive lawns. Wander through the Sunken Garden, see the Ross Fountain, and the Japanese, Rose, and Italian gardens. Maps and flower guides will be provided on arrival for independent exploration.

Dinner: Enjoy dinner at a local restaurant.

Evening: At your leisure.

DAY
7
Lily Maxwell Garden, Abkhazi Garden, Government House
Victoria, BC
B,L,D
The Huntingdon Manor

Activity note: Getting on and off a motorcoach. Walking up to 2 miles (3.2 km) on uneven terrain in public and private gardens, concrete and gravel paths; standing during field trips. Variable weather conditions.

Breakfast: A buffet breakfast will be served at the hotel.

Morning: This morning’s field trips is an exclusive visit to a private garden created by Lily Maxwell, a winner of Canadian Gardening Magazine’s Best Garden in Canada. Enjoy this rare opportunity to explore Maxwell’s garden and see her colourful plant combinations and unusual specimens, such as Cornus, Stewartia, Aralia, Ginkgo and more.

Lunch: Enjoy afternoon tea service, including fresh baking and delicate savouries at the Abkhazi Garden Tea House.

Afternoon: Explore with an expert the Abkhazi Gardens which features splendid rhododendron displays, and Japanese maples situated on glaciated rocky slopes surrounding a heritage house. Roam the gardens of Government House, home to the Lieutenant Governor, the Queen’s Representative in British Columbia, and marvel at the dozens of distinctive gardens, from an extensive rockery, to a formal tapestry planting of Mediterranean herbs.

Dinner: Enjoy our farewell dinner at a local restaurant.

Evening: Reminisce with your fellow Road Scholar travelers and share your favorite memories during our final evening together.

DAY
8
Program Concludes
Victoria, BC
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out is at 11:00 am.

Breakfast: Enjoy a buffet breakfast at the hotel. This concludes our program.

Morning: If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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