The VanDusen Botanical Garden is a 55-acre botanical oasis in the center of Vancouver that showcases diverse plants from around the world. Not surprisingly, the garden is considered to be among the top public green spaces in North America. Among the rhododendron, magnolia and sino-Himalayan plants, you can also find plenty of art installations, such as beautifully carved totem poles and sculptures. Many visitors especially enjoy the cedar maze made up of 3,000 pyramidal cedars and if you get the chance, make sure to attend one of the seasonal festivals, such as the Festival of Lights in December or the Sakura Day Japan Fair in spring.
Inspired by the natural environment around it, the visitor center is unquestionably an attraction of its own. It has strived to meet the Living Building Challenge, which means that it isn’t only constructed in an environmentally conscious design that draws on natural forms, but also uses renewable resources and achieves net-zero energy consumption. In fact, the building that was inspired by the petals of an orchid dedicates as much surface area as possible – from interior to exterior spaces – to vegetation growth. For this, the futuristic looking Visitor Center was named Most Sustainable Building of the Year.
The VanDusen Botanical Gardens are open seven days a week, but have different opening hours depending on the time of year. In winter, they are only open from 10am to 3pm, while during the summer months, the gardens can be visited from 9am to 9pm. The VanDusen Botanical Gardens can be found in Shaughnessy, the heart of Vancouver, and can be easily reached from downtown in about 10 minutes.