on October 13, 2008
If you love flowers and have only time to take in one tourist attraction while in Vancouver Island, then you MUST visit the Butchart Gardens. The gardens were created by Mrs Jennie Butchart to host and entertain guests in 1906. She began with a Japanese garden, expanded the gardens into the nearby disused quarry and created a unique sunken garden. From there, the garden grew to include fountains, rose garden, herbs garden spaning a total of 55 hectares in all. We signed up for the Butchart gardens tour with the Pacific coach line. For CAD$142 return, we did not have to worry about the transportation to and fro Vancouver mainland to the island. The tour included entrance into the gardens and a short tour of Victoria after before returning to Vancouver in the evening. In all, the tour took about 12 hours. We departed at the Pacific Central station and headed for the BCferries that will take us to Swartz Bay in Vancouver Island. Our driver cum guide hailed from Prince Edward Island, was laconic in his narration and had a tendency to go off tangent. Still, he offered interesting insights on life in Canada. We arrived at the Butchart gardens just after noon. Our first glimpse of the gardens at the entrance had everyone in the bus excited. By the time the coach was parked, we were all eager to head straight for the gardens. We were given 3 hours to explore and wished we had more time. The garden was in full bloom with some autumn froliage. Words like spectacular, beautiful, picturesque could not describe the full beauty of the gardens. We were given a book identifying the various blooms in the garden as well as a map which was useful during our self-guided tour. For those who have more time, there is a restaurant, cafe and an ice-cream kiosk in the garden. Go Here for further details on admission and events.From the Butchart gardens, we departed for Victoria for a short bus tour covering the uplands, the Beacon Hill park and Mile Zero. As the coach turned a corner towards the Empress Hotel, I was surprised and delighted to see a familiar building- the iconic school from South Park. We were given about an hour to walk around Victoria, as we strolled around town, we could see why Victoria was a popular filming location. Unfortunately, we ran out of time and wished we had time to stay overnight.
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