The VanDusen Botanical Garden in Vancouver, Canada, Is a Beauty!
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. As of August of 2019, the fees are as follows:
- Adults (19–64) $11.25 (April 1 to Sept. 30) or $8 at other times of the year
- Seniors (65+) $8.45, or $5.50 (Oct. 1 to March 31)
- Youth (13–18) The same pricing as Seniors
- Child (4–12) $5.50, or $4.25 (Oct. 1 to March 31)
- Children under 3 and VanDusen Botanical Garden members are free.
- Groups of 10 people or more receive a 10% discount on pricing.
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 if you plan to visit there in other months of the year.
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.
Would you consider strolling through the VanDusen Botanical Garden if in Vancouver?
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.
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© 2009 Peggy Woods