Take five in these Vancouver city gardens

Surrounded as we are by expanses of raw wilderness, there exists an urge sometimes to be within a tamed natural environment where philosophies of natural growth coexist with the desire to curate that very nature. Enter the garden — urban oases of natural, organized beauty — the perfect escape from our busy city lives.

UBC Botanical Garden

6804 Marine Dr SW, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4

There’s a little bit of everything at this garden and plant research centre. From their world-class Natobi Garden — a traditional Japanese Tea and Stroll garden considered the most authentic in North America — to their breathtaking canopy walk among 500-year-old Douglas Firs to their food garden and even a psychic garden with plants promoting wellness, a visit here is both an escape and an education, with funds going directly to botanical research. See horticulture students at work and engage in a fascinating, academic garden experience.

Stanley Park

610 Pipeline Rd, Vancouver, BC V6G 1Z4

This stunning scene of the Rose Garden at the entrance to Stanley Park is a treat for both your eyes and nose. From June to early fall, beautifully manicured beds and overhead arbors of over 3,500 rose bushes burst and blossom emitting their intoxicating scent and bursting with colour, from white to yellow, pink to red. In the off-season you’re still treated to perennial and annual blooms, so be sure to make this free garden a stop any time of year when you hit Stanley Park.

Dr Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden

578 Carrall St, Vancouver, BC V6B 5K2

For a truly meditational experience, head into the oasis of the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Park and Gardens. On the edge of bustling Chinatown, pass through the pagoda entrance into the quiet calm of Japanese maples, stone Buddhas and golden koi moving hypnotically through the surrounding waters. Cross bridges and pathways as you make the circuit around this lovely urban green space. Note that the park is public and free to access while the traditional garden requires a fee for entry.

VanDusen Botanical Garden

5251 Oak St, Vancouver, BC V6M 4H1

Plan to arrive early to explore spectacular acres of gardens, all worth a leisurely stroll, before heading into the Bloedel Conservatory where you leave Vancouver’s temperate rain forest climate behind and enter the architecturally impressive dome housing tropical, subtropical and desert climates, complete with flora and fauna of the regions. Refuel at the lovely Shaughnessy Restaurant, keep abreast of their frequent events like their hugely popular seed sale, and even consider getting married here. A true urban oasis.

Bloedel Conservatory

4600 Cambie St, Vancouver, BC V5Y 2M9

Perched atop the city’s highest point, this park boasts views of the city and mountains like no other place in Vancouver. As a municipal park there is no fee for entry so a stroll among lusty magnolias, cherry trees and rhododendron in the spring or lush green trees and grassy lawns in the summer is always a great option for the to-do list. Be sure to visit the public art as well as wander through Painters’ Corner where artists are busily creating their masterpieces.

Raincouver, the Wet Coast — there’s no denying that our beautiful city sees its share of rain in the winter. When it’s been pouring for days and you’re damp down to you bones, consider an afternoon at one of these escapes that will leave winter as a distant memory – if only for a few hours. [Photo © Yellow Pages / Pages Jaunes]
Who says you have to go on holiday to get away from it all? There are many ways to indulge in a little self-care close to home that will leave you feeling fresh, rejuvenated and utterly relaxed. Spoil yourself with pampering treatments from any one of these local Vancouver spas and enjoy the escape for a few blissful hours. You deserve it. [Image courtesy of CHI The Spa]
In our damp and dark climate on display many months of the year, it’s always handy to have a few indoor activities in your back pocket to get the kids out of the rain and into something fun — whether it’s active, educational or creative. Here are a few great places to take shelter and have fun.
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