Saturday, 16 May 2015

Gardens and Boat Tours in Victoria, B.C.

Heather admiring the rhodo's
  by Keith and Heather Nicol
We visited Victoria in mid May and decided to check out the Gardens at the Horticulture Centre of the Pacific (HCP). We had not been to these gardens before but we were impressed by the range of plants that are displayed on the 43 hectare site. On Thursday May 14 when we visited, the most colourful displays were in the rhododendron area but later in the summer the rose and lily areas are in bloom. We also enjoyed the Japanese gardens and the HCP has the largest bonsai garden in Canada! Some of these miniature trees are remarkably old. There are also sections displaying native plants, as well as a Mediterranean and kids’ garden. The Gardens are located at 505 Quayle Road in Victoria and you can get more information about the HCP at:  We plan to come back when other flowers are in bloom.

The  bonsai display is the largest in Canada
    Later that day we headed into downtown Victoria to do a tour with Victoria Harbour Ferry
The Victoria Harbour Ferry in front of the B.C. Parliament buildings
(VHF). VHF has a fleet of small ferries that do tours of Victoria’s harbour as well as running shuttles between key tourism locations. We opted to take the Harbour Tour and were joined by Keith’s brother Bruce and his wife Mary Ellen who live in Victoria but had never done this tour. Our Captain was Ron Fenton and besides our group of 4 there was a family from Australia on board. The 45 minute tour did a loop around the harbour and we were amazed how active it is. We ran into vessels as small as sea kayaks and outrigger canoes to large tugs pulling barges. We saw a huge cruise ship tied up at a wharf at the entrance to the harbour and saw lots of float plane activity as well. Ron told us that this is the busiest floatplane base in the world and we saw several planes landing and taking off. Ron also said  that one time they had to stop landings since a killer whale had been spotted in the harbour in the prime take off and landing zone! We also saw a couple of harbour seals along the way as well as two groupings of floating houses.  Doing a Victoria Harbour Ferry tour is a great way to see Victoria from the water and we fully recommend it. For more information see:

There is lots of activity in the harbour
The tour passes by many floating houses in Victoria Harbour

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