The VanDusen Botanical Garden in Vancouver, Canada, Is a Beauty!

I live in Houston and have worked as a nurse. I have a lifelong passion for traveling, nature, and photography (preferably all together!).

The Beautiful VanDusen Botanical Garden in Vancouver, Canada

The Beautiful VanDusen Botanical Garden in Vancouver, Canada

VanDusen Botanical Garden

This extensive garden sits on the 55-acre (22.5-hectare) site of what used to be the Shaughnessy Golf Course. When the golf course was abandoned, thought was given to turn the area into the development of condos. Thankfully, that did not come to pass!

Citizens of Vancouver spearheaded the idea of preserving this land for the public, and with the help of the City of Vancouver, the Vancouver Foundation and even the Government of British Columbia, the idea for this botanical garden became a reality.

The garden was officially named after Mr. W.J. VanDusen, who happened to be the president of the Vancouver Foundation and who also donated money for the development of this botanical garden.

The VanDusen Botanical Gardens are now overseen by the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation. The Botanical Gardens Association of Vancouver also helps with the direction the garden has taken.

This site contains all the elements needed for a gorgeous garden; the weather is mild, there are lovely water features, and the variety of plants that can grow in that climate is diverse.

My mother, niece, and I took time one year to do some walking through these gorgeous gardens while we were on vacation.

Different Types of Gardens

In laying out the design for the gardens, it was decided to use numerous plants from around the world and group them by geographic origin. This plan provides many different areas of the garden to enjoy and experience as one portion of the acreage may look entirely different from another part.

  • There is a medieval garden maze.
  • A rose garden sprawls nearby.
  • The rhododendron garden was in full bloom when we passed by that area.
  • The Asian features of the garden add to its distinctive beauty.
  • Sculptures dot the grounds and add interest.

The sculptures strategically placed throughout the park are each labeled with the sculptor's name and country. Many of these enormous pieces of art were carved on-site during the International Stone Sculpture Symposium that occurred in 1975. It would have been fun to see them being carved, but it is still very enjoyable to see the result of the different artists' interpretations of their medium, whether stone, wood, or another raw material.

VanDusen Botanical Rose Garden

Sights and Sounds

We loved strolling through the VanDusen Botanical Garden. The winding paths took one over wooden bridges where one could look down upon lily pads in bloom. It also led one to vast expanses of lawn with borders of the majestic trees and blooming shrubs punctuating the scenery with color. The plants and trees were labeled so one could learn more about them.

We saw our very first monkey puzzle tree in these gardens. What an unusual looking tree this was to our eyes! Supposedly this monkey puzzle tree is the only tree in the world that a monkey cannot climb due to its very sharp needle-like leaves.

Vancouver hosted a World Exposition in 1986, and a Korean-style pavilion was a gift from the Korean people to the people of Vancouver. It now graces a spot in the botanical garden for people from every part of the world who visit this garden to enjoy.

Location, Rules, and Pricing

You can find these gardens at 5251 Oak Street (at the corner of Oak and West 37th Avenue) in the heart of Vancouver. They are open every day of the year except for Christmas.

These gardens are meant to be enjoyed by walking through them. Baby strollers are allowed but no other form of accommodation such as skateboards, bicycles, and the like. Pets are not allowed except for guide dogs. There is to be no smoking on the grounds.

They do charge fees to enter the gardens, but the charge is nominal and helps to maintain and further develop these gardens. Parking for those arriving in their vehicles is free. The entrance fees depend upon the time of year, April 1st through September 30th, being the most expensive.

The garden hours are shorter in the winter months and longer in the summers. In June, July, and August the gardens open at 9 AM and close at 8 PM. The shortest hours are November to February when they open at 10 AM and close at 3 PM. Check their website at the bottom of this page for more details as to pricing.

If you enjoy nature in a more natural setting, consider visiting these gardens if you are ever in Vancouver, Canada. I would heartily recommend spending some leisure time there.

Festival of Lights

Toward the end of each year, a Festival of Lights is held in the VanDusen Botanical Garden. Since we were there in the summertime, we did not get to see that extravaganza, but this video below lends an idea of what there is to know if one is there during the time of the year conducive to this type of display.

It must be a fantastic sight to see these gorgeous grounds transformed and lit with thousands of twinkling multicolored lights.


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2009 Peggy Woods

Comments are welcomed.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 13, 2012:

Hi Vinaya,

While the pictures show something of the Van Dusen Botanical Gardens in Vancouver, obviously seeing it in person is even better. My camera was just a simple point and shoot variety. Appreciate your comment.

Vinaya Ghimire from Nepal on April 13, 2012:

I loved the pictures. They are so beautiful.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 26, 2012:

Hi alocsin,

I guess you can tell that we like visiting gardens whenever we travel if given the time to explore. Hope that you can fit in a visit to the Van Dusen Botanical Gardens the next time you make it to Vancouver. Thanks for your comment and votes. :)

Aurelio Locsin from Orange County, CA on March 26, 2012:

Peggy, you come up with the best places I've never visited in cities that I have visited. The stone sculpture looks fantastic. I'll add this to my checklist when I get to Vancouver next. Voting this Up and Useful.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 29, 2011:

Hello wilrhoades,

I am certain that if you like Gardens, you would love the ones in Vancouver, Canada. Van Dusen Botanical Garden is just one of many. Hope you get to see all of them in person someday! :))

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 16, 2011:

Hi Charlu,

Like you, I had never seen a monkey puzzle tree either. The Van Dusen Botanical Gardens are truly gorgeous especially with all of the sculptures intermixed with the lawns and plantings. Thanks for the votes and comment. :)))

Charlu from Florida on June 16, 2011:

This place is gorgeous The dancing lights were so awesome and I never heard of a monkey puzzle tree. I would love to grow roses like that Voted all the up buttons and thanks for sharing

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 02, 2010:

Hi Billy,

The Van Dusen Botanical Gardens were just one of the gardens we got to enjoy while in Vancouver and also while on Vancouver Island. It is obviously a terrific climate for growing things. Great vacation spot as you mentioned!

billyaustindillon on August 02, 2010:

Beautiful botanical gardens. Vancouver itself as beautiful the island and water there so I guess I shouldn't think that the gardens wouldn't be. Would be a great part of a Summer vacation.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 31, 2010:

Hello love2scrap,

Am so pleased to know that you enjoyed these photos from the Van Dusen Botanical Gardens in Vancouver...especially the frog. :-) You are most welcome and thanks for the comment.

love2scrap on July 31, 2010:

Fabulous photos - I love the frog! Thanks so much for sharing!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 24, 2010:

Hi ss sneh,

Very happy to hear that you enjoyed the Van Dusen Botanical Gardens hub from Vancouver, Canada. It was our pleasure in visiting there and my pleasure in sharing that visit here on hubpages. Thanks for the visit and comment.

ss sneh from the Incredible India! on June 24, 2010:

Hi! Beautiful video, beautiful pictures... very nice hub! -- Thanks

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 30, 2010:

Hi katyzzz,

So very happy that you enjoyed this look at the Van Dusen Botanical Gardens in Vancouver, Canada. They are really lovely! Thanks for the glowing comment.

katyzzz from Sydney, Australia on May 30, 2010:

Fantastic hub and a great collection of videos, what more can I say, awesome?

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 28, 2009:

Hi loveroflife,

No, not yet. Actually even in the United States, I have spent more time in the West than in the East when vacationing. Guess I had better correct that! Ha! Glad that you enjoyed this look at Vancouver's Van Dusen Botanical Gardens and thanks, once again, for commenting.

loveroflife on September 27, 2009:

More beauty from Vancouver in western Canada. Have you ever explored the eastern provinces?

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 08, 2009:

Hello mp!

Always nice to see someone new commenting on these hubs.

If you live that close you will definitely want to check out the Van Dusen Botanical Gardens in Vancouver on your next visit. Might check out the other great gardens as well. We absolutely LOVED it there!

Thanks for your comment.

mp on August 08, 2009:

WOW those are beautiful... I live in the okanagan valley only a couple hours drive from there... I will definitely check it out next time in Van... very nice Hub

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 22, 2009:

Hi ripplemaker,

Happy to introduce this to you. I know what you mean...as we all read about places and see photos from other parts of the world from fellow hubbers...there are an endless amount of places worth exploring. Thanks for commenting.

Michelle Simtoco from Cebu, Philippines on May 22, 2009:

I love the gardens and would love to go there. Now my bucket list is getting longer...now if I had a million dollars, this would be one of the things I'd like to do. Hehe Hey Dottie, can I come with you? :-) Thanks for sharing these wonderful photos Peggy! You take such good pictures.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 21, 2009:

Hi ethel,

And I would like to see more of our neighbor to the north. The only part I have seen thus far is Vancouver up to Squamish and the Island of Victoria. Loved every minute of it. My husband was on a business trip to Toronto once and he came back with great memories of that city.

Thanks for your comment.

Ethel Smith from Kingston-Upon-Hull on May 21, 2009:

Would love to visit Canada

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 21, 2009:

Hello Journey*,

Glad that you liked them. Thanks for the comment.

Nyesha Pagnou MPH from USA on May 21, 2009:

Wow Peggy, what beautiful gardens and great pics of them. Thanks for sharing. -Journey*

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 21, 2009:

Hi Cris, Happy that you could accompany us on our stroll. Thanks for commenting.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 21, 2009:

Hi Dolores,

The photos were taken with an old Canon camera. Today, I would have the advantage of having my digital camera. I would know what the photos look like before getting home and hoping that they were good. Ah.....progress! Thanks for reading and commenting.

Cris A from Manila, Philippines on May 21, 2009:

Nice gardens indeed! And thanks for taking us for a stroll :D

Dolores Monet from East Coast, United States on May 21, 2009:

Beautiful gardens, Peggy, the pics look like old poastcards, some like paintings, what a beautiful place.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 20, 2009:

Hi Dottie,

They certainly have their share of beautiful gardens there. Thanks for reading and commenting.

Dottie1 from MA, USA on May 20, 2009:

This sounds like a garden haven and worth a trip with nothing else in mind except a peaceful stroll in the gardens. Lovely. Thank you!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 20, 2009:

Hi shamelabboush,

We really did have fun together. It was a period of time in our lives when the 3 of us traveled together each summer. We always chose new and different places to explore. With these hubs I am reliving those moments and you are getting a glimpse of the places we enjoyed. Thanks for your comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 20, 2009:

Hi Birte,

Vancouver would be high on my list of places to not only visit, but revisit. I am writing different hubs regarding our 5 day stay there because it would be impossible to show or talk about all of our experiences in one hub without simply skimming the surface. We crammed in as much as we could in 5 days and still did not begin to see it all. Stay tuned for more and thanks for commenting.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 20, 2009:

Hi kiran,

That is one fun thing about hubpages. We all learn from each other's experiences whether travel, cooking, ideas, etc. Thanks for your comment.

shamelabboush on May 20, 2009:

Oh my! It seems you always have fun together? It's fantastic to visit all these places :)

BirteEdwards on May 20, 2009:

Another hub that adds a site to my list of what to see and where to travel.

kiran8 from Mangalore, India on May 19, 2009:

Another great hub, makes me want to visit all the places you show us here...thanks a lot :)

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 19, 2009:

Hi Nolimits Nana,

Thanks for adding this bit of information so that other people who may visit it will know. We had eaten lunch that day at the Capilano Suspension bridge restaurant so were not hungry when we visited the Van Dusen gardens.

You are fortunate to have it in your backyard so-to-speak. We really enjoyed it and were happy that we chose to visit there.

Nolimits Nana on May 19, 2009:

Hi, Peggy - A great review of one of my favorite BC gardens. I've strolled through it several times, and enjoyed its diversity, beauty and peacefulness in a busy city. By the way, the restaurant serves a great lunch!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 19, 2009:

Hi Pete,

Finally! Something we both have in common. We found them to be very natural and peaceful. Thanks for the quick comment again.

Pete Maida on May 19, 2009:

Those gardens are very nice; we were there a few years ago.

Related Articles