FLOWER GARDENS AND PARKS IN B.C.
No trip to Vancouver is complete without a trip to world famous Stanley Park. Perhaps Vancouver's most famous attraction, the park is packed with free things to do. Visitors who want peace and tranquility can find it along the myriad of walking trails. Start at Lost Lagoon and visit the nature house, then proceed around the Lagoon. You'll find geese, swans, and many other species of birds. The Stanley Park seawall is an ideal way to take in the view from all around the park. Visitors are welcome to walk, bike or rollerblade the 8.85 km (5.5 mile) wall. Cyclists and rollerbladers do need to proceed with caution and yield to pedestrians. In some areas, bladers and bikers are required to depart from the seawall and travel on roadways for a short distance.
The park also features a number of beaches (Third, Second, English Bay) with lifeguards on duty in the summer months. Second Beach also features a pool with wash rooms and change rooms. A children's water park is located at Lumberman's Arch and a refreshment stand is close by. The Miniature Railway (which has an admission fee) is located a short walk from the water park.
A pitch and putt golf course is located near the Rhododendron Garden and the formal Rose Garden is located near the Stanley Park Pavilion. The park also has tennis courts, located near the Lost Lagoon Nature House.
Also worth checking out (although it does require an entrance fee) is the Aquarium.
Stanley Park is located at the NW end of downtown Vancouver. Enter the park from North Vancouver after crossing the Lions Gate Bridge (the bridge traffic runs right through the middle of the park), or from downtown Vancouver via Georgia Street or Beach Avenue. The park is open year round.
Queen Elizabeth Park
Two former stone quarries have been transformed into beautiful gardens in a spectacular setting. The park has numerous ornamental gardens, a waterfall and a rose garden. The park is a very popular setting for wedding photos. In summer months, visitors may see many bridal parties posing for photos in the tranquil setting.
Queen Elizabeth Park is a weekend favorite for many devotees of Tai Chi - the large, gently sloping lawns are often filled with those devoted to this ancient Chinese exercise. The park also offers 20 tennis courts, a pitch and putt golf course and a disc (Frisbee) golf course.
For a small entrance fee, visitors to Queen Elizabeth Park may wish to visit the Bloedel Conservatory. The indoor facility is home to many exotic plant species, over 100 birds and Koi fish.
Queen Elizabeth Park is located at 33rd Avenue and Cambie Street in Vancouver, and is open year round.
Park And Tilford Gardens
The last time I was there it was still part of a distillery, and unless you knew about it, it was hidden and not visible from the street. This garden was open to the public without cost all year long. The distillery has since been turned into a shopping mall, but the garden still exists.
Apparently it is still open all year and is still free to enter. It is located at 440-333 Brooksbank Avenue, North Vancouver, BC. Phone: (604)984-8200 Fax: (604)984-6099.
Japanese Friendship Garden
I have never been to this garden, so I cannot write anything about it except that it is located in New Westminster, BC, beside City Hall. It is also free and open all year.
The following are not 'free or nearly free', but I had many inquiries about them, so I decided to include them here:
VanDusen Botanical Gardens 5251 Oak Street (at 37th Ave.), Vancouver, B.C. Canada.
University of British Columbia Botanical Gardens 6804 SouthWest Marine Drive, Vancouver, B.C. Canada.
Minter Gardens Located about an hour drive East of Vancouver.
Come and stroll the beautifully maintained gardens of British Columbia's Lieutenant Governor. The gardens include a formal rose garden and are open to the public. Government House is located on Rockland Avenue.
Beacon Hill Park and Gardens
Located at the end of Douglas Street in Victoria (mile zero of the Trans Canada Highway). The park is open all year.
University of Victoria Botanical Gardens
Located at the South end of the campus off Cedar Hill Cross Road in Victoria. Free admission and open all year.
Saxe Point Park
Located on Fraser Street in Esquimalt, B.C. Free admission and open all year.
Butchart Gardens is a major tourist attraction, so I'm putting a link to it here just because so many people want to see it.