The bright colours and glorious fountains of Butchart Gardens make it look like the set of an inventive fantasy film. Watch fireworks explode into colours as vivid as the flowers growing beneath them and enjoy concerts on the sloping, grassy lawn. Boat tours, carousels and magical nighttime illuminations add to the appeal of this popular Victoria attraction.
An enterprising family of cement dealers, the Butcharts excavated limestone from Victoria Island in the early 1900s. Jennie Butchart envisioned turning the empty quarries into spectacular sunken gardens. Her husband Robert accumulated ornamental birds to inhabit the gardens and their grandson also worked to develop the gardens as an international tourist destination. Visit today to explore the National Historic Site, still owned by the Butchart family.
Wander through the gardens’ different sections to appreciate all of the sights. Explore the Sunken Garden, set on the site of the old quarry, as well as gardens with Japanese and Italian themes. The plants growing here change depending on the season. Come in spring to see multicolored tulips or witness beautyberries and acers displaying glorious colours in fall.
Find activities throughout the gardens to delight visitors of all ages. Let your kids ride the hand-carved Rose Carousel in the Children’s Pavilion. Relax in one of the boats that chug around the waters of the Tod Inlet. Boat captains regale passengers with information as they float around the lake.
In summer, buy a ticket to see the gardens at night. Eye-catching illuminations of every hue make the trees and flowers appear even more magical. Visit to see the decorations at Christmas, a fifth magical season in the gardens.
Relax on the lawns and listen to musical performances. Throughout summer, rock bands, symphony orchestras and global acts perform in the modern pavilion. Every Saturday night in summer, a spectacular fireworks display completes the varied calendar of entertainment.
Butchart Gardens are located just outside Victoria, less than a 30-minute drive from the city centre. Ride a bus from the city or drive here and park on-site. Admission fees change seasonally, with discounts available for children and large groups.