Although we didn’t visit the Butchart Gardens on this trip, it would be remiss of me not to mention it as it is possibly the most spectacular floral display on the continent. It began as a limestone quarry in 1904 established by Robert and Jennie Butchart. They created a family home nearby with sweetpeas and rose bushes. As Mr. Butchart exhausted the limestone deposits his wife began to create a sunken garden in the abandoned quarry and went on to develop other areas such as the Italianate, Japanese and Rose gardens. Successive generations of the family have cared for the gardens which attract a million people annually.
To get here take the Scenic Marine Drive from Beacon Hill Park with magnificent views over the Pacific Ocean and through the city’s most beautiful residential areas. There are several lookout points and benches along the way and also cafés plus breathtaking views of the Olympic Mountains just across the Juan de Fuca Strait, in Washington State, USA.