PARKS AND GARDENS

1. Pacific Spirit Regional Park

Google Map

This huge park on Vancouver’s west side, supports pine forests as well as birch, alder, and cottonwood trees. Extensive trails cross the peninsula from Point Grey to the University of British Columbia (UBC). The park features beaches, bluffs overlooking the expansive Spanish Banks, and the Camosun Bog, an ecological treasure.

2. Bloedel Conservatory

prac_info Queen Elizabeth Park, W 33rd Ave & Cambie St • 604 257 8584

Google Map

Visitors to Canada’s first geodesic conservatory are enveloped by steamy air as they step into this dome filled with more than 500 species of desert, tropical, and sub-tropical plants. The calls of free-flying birds complement the exotic ambience beautifully.

3. Butchart Gardens

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Starting in 1904, Mrs. Jenny Butchart created five spectacular gardens to beautify her husband’s excavated limestone quarry on the outskirts of Victoria. Her first creation was the elegantly manicured Japanese Garden, followed by the lush Sunken Garden. Approximately one million bedding plants blossom yearly.

TopTen

Brightly colored plants and trees in the Butchart Gardens

4. Beacon Hill Park

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Since 1858, Beacon Hill has been the queen of Victoria’s parks. Wooden bridges built over a stream, a petting zoo, and an English-style rose garden add to the charm. Visitors can walk around, ride horses, and picnic on the beach here.

TopTen

Spring flowers in Beacon Hill Park

5. Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden

Google Map

This gem of a park located in Chinatown reflects the serenity of a Ming Dynasty garden.

6. David Lam Park

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With a large expanse of green space, this Yaletown park has lots of private corners for sitting and relaxing, as well as playgrounds and sports courts.

7. Queen Elizabeth Park

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This pretty park in central Vancouver was once a stone quarry. The Quarry Garden is now its centerpiece. A small rose garden is planted with hardy varieties that blossom year-round.

8. Stanley Park

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Cedar, hemlock, and fir trees are all dotted throughout this park. Old-fashioned roses and lush hybrid rhododendrons share the space with cherry, magnolia, and dogwood trees, among others. The park staff plant 350,000 annual flowers for year-round beauty.

9. Vanier Park

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The English Bay serves as the backdrop for this expansive park close to Granville Island. Largely treeless, this area was named after Georges P. Vanier, governor general of Canada from 1959 to 1967.

TopTen

Geese in a pond in Vanier Park

10. VanDusen Botanical Garden

Google Map

The array of flowers, shrubs, and trees here (see VanDusen Botanical Garden) are unrivaled in Vancouver. Over 7,500 varieties from six continents enjoy the city’s four distinct seasons. There are rolling lawns and peaceful lakes.

TOP 10 BC TREE VARIETIES

1. Douglas Fir

The province’s economy was built on the lumber from this imposing tree that grows to a height of 300 ft (90 m).

TopTen

Moss-covered Douglas Fir trees

2. Yellow Cedar

Growing in colder elevations, the soft wood from this tree is the ideal choice for First Nations carvings.

3. Western Red Cedar

Dark, scale-like needles mark the down-swept branches of this sometimes huge evergreen tree.

4. Hemlock

The most common tree on the West Coast, hemlock is easily recognizable by its droopy top branches.

5. Sitka Spruce

The Carmanah Giant, a Sitka spruce on Vancouver Island is, at 312 ft (95 m), the tallest recorded tree in Canada.

6. Arbutus

Peeling red-brown bark identifies the arbutus, also known as the madrona, the only broad-leafed evergreen tree native to Canada.

7. Pine

Straight lodgepole and Ponderosa pines grow at higher elevations.

8. Dogwood

The white or pink flowers of this tree bloom in spring, and famously appear on BC’s official coat of arms.

9. Japanese Flowering Cherry

More than 40,000 of these blossoming trees line Vancouver’s streets; many were given as a gift from Japan.

10. Maple

Canada’s national tree grows in bigleaf, Douglas, and vine varieties. Bigleaf wood is often used for First Nations canoe paddles.

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