2679
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
1,799
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8 days
7 nights
16 meals
7 B 4 L 5 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
Check-In, Registration, Welcome Dinner, Orientation
Vancouver, BC
D
Best Western Plus Sands Hotel

Activity note: Hotel check-in from 4:00 p.m.

Afternoon: Arrive to bustling Vancouver and transfer to the hotel. Program Registration. 4:00-5:00 p.m. Come meet our group leader in the lobby and get your welcome packet. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in and the front desk will be happy to help you.

Dinner: At the hotel, we’ll have a welcome dinner

Evening: We’ll begin our evening with an orientation session where we’ll get to know each other as well as review the up-to-date program schedule and any changes. We’ll go over important information as well as have time for questions. 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. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars or settle in for the night. You may also wish to explore what the city has to offer.

DAY
2
Stanley Park, City Field Trip, Nitobe Gardens, MOA
Vancouver, BC
B,L,D
Best Western Plus Sands Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off a bus. Walking approximately 1 mile, standing at museum.

Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel

Morning: We’ll be joined by a member of the Stanley Park Ecology Society for an in-depth coach exploration of Stanley Park. Learn about this unique park and National Historic Site, with its majestic hemlock, cedar and firs trees, totem poles and ocean and mountain vistas. We’ll stop at the Rose Garden, and visit world-famous landmarks, including Lost Lagoon, monuments and sculptures, and the 5.5-mile stone seawall that encircles the park. We’ll then continue our discovery of Vancouver with an expert historian and heritage advocate, exploring the False Creek area, including Olympic village and the old Expo 86 site, and learning about changes in the city over the last 20 years. With insider commentary, we’ll see some of the city’s most notable, colorful and historic neighborhoods and points of interest. Stop for a short visit at Queen Elizabeth Park in the heart of the City. The park has nearly 129 acres (52 hectares) of green space, and includes an arboretum with exotic and native trees and sculptures, including one by internationally renowned artist Henry Moore.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Walk through the Nitobe Memorial Garden, part of the University of British Columbia Botanical Garden, with a local expert. Every element of the garden is designed to reflect harmony and an idealized conception of nature. Considered one of the top five Japanese gardens outside Japan, this oasis of serenity set amid a bustling city, honors Nitobe Inazo (1862-1933), noted agriculturalist, author, educator, and diplomat, whose goal was “to become a bridge across the Pacific”. Next, glimpse into the remarkable lives of the Indigenous peoples of the northwest coast of British Columbia and around the world during our visit to the Museum of Anthropology (MOA). This is Canada's largest teaching museum, designed by Futurist architect Arthur Erikson, and located on the University of British Columbia campus overlooking mountains and sea. On a self-guided exploration, see massive totem poles, carved boxes, bowls and feast dishes displayed in the Great Hall, and smaller, but equally magnificent pieces in gold, silver, argillite and other materials, exhibited in the galleries.

Dinner: At a local restaurant.

Evening: At leisure. You might like to head out and see more of Vancouver on your own or just relax at your hotel.

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

Activity note: Walking up to 1 mile, some standing; pavement, stone walkways in garden.

Breakfast: At the hotel

Morning: We will head to Chinatown and visit the Dr. Sun Yat-sen Classical Chinese Garden, named for the man considered the father of modern China. Named one of the world’s best hidden travel gems by National Geographic, it is the first Chinese or "scholars garden” built outside of China and is an authentic representation of a garden tradition that reached its peak in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). With its asymmetrical arrangement of rocks and plants, winding paths and corridors, the Garden emulates the rhythms of nature.

Lunch: At a local 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. This is an opportunity for you to explore the city and create your own dining experience. Your Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions suited to your tastes.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and transfer tomorrow.

DAY
4
Van Dusen Botanical Garden, Ferry to Victoria
Victoria, BC
B,D
Royal Scot Hotel & Suites

Activity note: Getting on/off a bus. The ferry to Victoria is 24 nautical miles, approximately 1.5 hours; participants will be responsible for boarding and disembarking the ferry with their luggage. Walking up to 1 mile on paved paths and groomed trails, some standing, a few stairs with railings.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: This will be an enjoyable and informative morning, as we discover VanDusen Botanical Garden, with a local expert. This spectacular 22-hectare (55-acre) garden in the heart of Vancouver has gained international stature since opening to the public in 1975. Garden features include: the Scottish Shelter in the Heather Garden; the hexagonal Korean Pavilion, a gift of the Korean people and a rare example of the dan cheong style of surface decoration; and The 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 and go to our hotel for check-in. Take some time to become familiar with the landscape in the area or freshen up and relax before dinner.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: A local historian will provide an overview of the picturesque and historic seaside capital of British Columbia. We’ll learn about forces that shaped Victoria and gave it its old British charm.

DAY
5
Beacon Hill, Horticulture Centre, Free Time
Victoria, BC
B
Royal Scot Hotel & Suites

Activity note: Getting on/off a bus. Walking 1.5 miles; gravel paths, mostly flat ground.

Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel

Morning: Experience Beacon Hill Park, one of downtown Victoria's crown jewels, on a walking exploration with a local expert. Peacocks roam freely in this beautifully landscaped Victorian park, complete with bridges, lakes and ponds, and an alpine and rock garden. It is home to numerous species of ducks, birds, and wildlife and there are wondrous displays of exotic and native trees, including Garry Oak, Arbutus, Douglas-fir, Western Red Cedar, birch, willow, maples, and more. Next, with our gardening expert, we'll visit the Gardens at HCP — Horticultural Centre of the Pacific. This non-profit “gardener’s garden” is devoted to lifelong learning, conservation, and research. There are more than a dozen specialist and seasonal gardens, cared for by staff, students, and volunteers.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like.

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, explore the Inner Harbour, or rest and relax.

Dinner: On own or to enjoy what you like.

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
Horticulture, Inner Harbour Walk, Butchart Gardens
Victoria, BC
B,L,D
Royal Scot Hotel & Suites

Activity note: Walking up to 3 miles, standing during field trips; concrete and pavement on Inner Harbor walk; paved, tightly packed gravel walkways in Butchart Gardens, some uneven ground.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: A local expert will join us at the hotel for an introduction to the afternoon’s destination, a self-guided visit to The Butchart Gardens. We’ll hear the remarkable story of Jennie Butchart and the history of the iconic gardens that bear her name. The Butchart Gardens consistently rank among the top gardens in the world and are a National Historic Site. We’ll then embark on a walking field trip in Victoria’s Old Town and Inner Harbour and learn about well-known and hidden treasures along the way from an historian. Get a first-hand look at some of the best of the city’s Victorian architecture along Wharf Street. We’ll see the British Columbia Parliament Buildings and the historic Empress Hotel.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Journey by coach through rolling countryside with glimpses of the ocean and old-growth forests to The Butchart Gardens, one of the world’s premier floral show gardens. Maps and flower guides will be provided on arrival for our self-directed exploration. There are 55 acres with meandering paths through wonderful floral displays amid expansive lawns and spectacular views. Explore at your own pace, from the Sunken Gardens and rose-laden arches, to the serenity of the Japanese Gardens that were completed in 1906 with assistance from an expert Japanese landscaper.

Dinner: At a local restaurant.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
7
Lily Maxwell Garden, Abkhazi Garden, Government House
Victoria, BC
B,L,D
Royal Scot Hotel & Suites

Activity note: Getting on/off a bus. Walking up to 2 miles, standing during field trips; mostly outdoors, uneven ground in public and private gardens, concrete and gravel paths, variable weather conditions.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: This morning we will have an exclusive field trip to two remarkable private gardens, created by Lily Maxwell. Maxwell began as an enthusiastic amateur several decades ago gardening on the three quarters of an acre surrounding her Oak Bay area house. The results caught the attention of other local gardeners and began to receive acclaim, including an award as the Best Garden in Canada by Canadian Gardening Magazine. We’ll get a rare opportunity to tour Maxwell’s garden and take in her colorful and thoughtful plant combinations and unusual specimens of Cornus, Stewartia, Aralia, Ginkgo and more. We also visit a second private garden she has designed. Using formal plantings, foliage and texture, Lily created a wondrous low-maintenance garden that provided year-round interests that embraced the strong sea winds and frequent deer visitors. Experience its open spaces and relaxing meditative garden. With our gardening expert, we will head to Abkhazi Gardens, known as “The garden that love built.” It features splendid collection of rhododendrons and Japanese maples situated on glaciated rocky slopes surrounding a heritage house. The Prince and Princess Abkhazi, whose young lives were both touched by privilege and tragedy, began creating this garden in 1946, the year they married and settled in Victoria.

Lunch: At the Tea House at Abkhazi Gardens, we’ll have a afternoon tea service, accompanied by fresh baking and delicate savouries.

Afternoon: Explore the gardens at Government House, home of the Lieutenant Governor, the Queen's representative in British Columbia. Within the Government House grounds are 14 acres (5.7 hectares) of formal gardens with more than a dozen distinctive gardens, from an extensive rockery developed on a natural rock outcropping overlooking the ocean, to a formal tapestry planting featuring Mediterranean herbs. Walk under heritage rhododendrons, towering copper beeches, giant Douglas firs and sequoias (California redwoods), and stand beside the towering metasequoia (dawn redwood), one of the first specimens to be planted in North America.

Dinner: Enjoy our farewell dinner at a local restaurant.

Evening: Wrap-up at the hotel after dinner. At leisure. Prepare for check-out and departure in the morning.

DAY
8
Program Concludes
Victoria, BC
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out by 12:00 Noon.

Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel. This concludes our program.

Morning: We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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