Ewok sighting at UBC? Greenheart TreeWalk – Vancouver’s Suspended Eco-Attraction

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Greenheart TreeWalk Photo: Rob Weiss

Swinging high above the forest floor on the Greenheart TreeWalk, I began to imagine myself as a heroine in a Star Wars movie. With every twist and turn I fully expected to encounter an Ewok, one of those diminutive furry species first made famous in Return of the Jedi.  If you recall, the Ewoks made their homes in the forest canopy, 15 metres above the ground.  Their Bright Tree Village was connected through a series of ladders, bridges, vines and catwalks. Unlike the imagined land created for the big screen in Star Wars, the Greenheart TreeWalk located in the UBC Botanical Garden is a real world eco-adventure.

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View of platform on the Greenheart TreeWalk Photo: Rob Weiss

Almost immediately, I was captivated by the ingenuity of the canopy walk’s design.  As I navigated the numerous suspended walkways and platforms, I found myself fascinated by this bird’s eye view of our coastal rain forest.  The aerial trail hangs from magnificent Douglas firs, cedars and grand firs. Built by Greenheart, a Vancouver based company, the innovative cable tension system design ensures that the trees and surrounding ecosystems are not damaged by the structure.  “Tree-Hugger” cables and “Kissing Bar” stabilizers keep visitors safe as they navigate the suspended walkways.

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Navigating a walkway Photo: Rob Weiss

Guests are welcome to explore the 310-metre-long canopy walk at their own pace or join a regularly scheduled tour.  Excited at the opportunity to learn more about the upper canopy, I decided to join a guided outing.  My leader, Bianca, was enthusiastic, knowledgeable and passionate about the forest.  Bianca shared her wealth of knowledge about the ecosystem, tree identification and First Nation’s culture and heritage, and she managed to do this while we were all suspended in mid-air!  What a creative way to view the forest canopy and interact with nature.

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UBC Botanical Garden Photo: Rob Weiss

Back on solid ground, after an informative tour and exploration of the canopy, the gardens beckoned. The UBC Botanical Garden features plants from every corner of the world.  From the David C. Lam Asian Garden to the organic food garden there is much to see and do, and who knows, maybe, just maybe, you will bump into an Ewok during your travels.  May the force be with you.

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UBC Botanical Garden established 1916 Photo: Rob Weiss

Getting There:

The UBC Botanical Garden, Canada’s oldest university botanical garden, is located on the University of British Columbia campus at 6804 Marine Drive.


Visit the UBC Botanical Garden website for up to date information on admission fees and hours of operation.

Shop and Garden Centre:

Have a green thumb or aspire to be a gardener?  A wide selection of tools, books, accessories and unique gifts are available in the Shop and Garden Centre.  Perennials, small trees, shrubs and vines are also on sale.

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